Keywords
«Airplane», «Switched reluctance drive», «Converter circuit», «Design», «Thermal design»
Abstract
Some general considerations for the design of the power converter used in an undergoing 30kW
switched reluctance starter/generator system are presented. The most suitable converter topology and
power semiconductor are found firstly based on features of the application and comparisons among
many possibilities. Then, the frequency stress, voltage ratings, peak and rms current ratings of the
power semiconductor are calculated analytically and verified by the simulation results with PC-SRD.
Finally, detailed thermal analysis of the converter is presented to check the applicability of the adopted
power semiconductor products and select feasible heatsink.
Introduction
Many studies have indicated that More/All Electric Aircraft (M/AEA) technology is the future
development trend of the aerospace industry and Integral engine Starter/Generator (IS/G) is a key
subsystem of this novel technology[1-3].
Among kinds of machines that can be used as an IS/G in M/AEA, the Switched Reluctance
Starter/Generator (SR S/G) is considered as a prime candidate technology to meet the requirements
and constraints well. In [4], the design, implementation and test validation of a switched reluctance
starter/generator system for aircraft engine application are presented.
During the operation of SR S/G system, power converter receives power from the power bus during
engine starting and provides power to the bus during generating. It is a critical component of the SR
S/G system and its design is directly related to the performance and cost of the whole system.
In this paper, the design process of a power converter used in an undergoing 30kW SR S/G system
is considered in detail from four aspects: Converter topology and power semiconductor selection,
frequency stress calculation, current and voltage rating estimation and thermal analysis.
The organization of this paper is as follows. In Section II, the performance requirements of the
undergoing SR S/G system are described. The selections of the converter topology and power
semiconductor are discussed in Section III. The detailed calculation of frequency stress, voltage and
current ratings are presented in Section IV and V, respectively. Section VI shows the thermal analysis
of the power converter. Finally, conclusions are drawn in Section VII.
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Performance Requirements of the System
The designed SR S/G is a 270-Vdc system that performs two primary functions. The first function
(0-27000rpm) is to start a gas turbine engine with at least 15Nm torque using an available source of
270-Vdc power. The second function (27000rpm-50000rpm) is to extract power from the gas turbine
engine to generate 30kW 270-Vdc. Both the starting requirement and generating requirement are
summarized by the torque speed curve in Fig.1. It should be noted that the SR S/G is connected to the
aircraft engine through a step-down gearbox. The Switched Reluctance Machine (SRM) turns at a
higher speed than the aircraft engine. The abscissa in Fig.1 represents the shaft speed of the SRM; it is
three times as fast as that of the engine. By the way, the SRM speed 27000rpm and 50000rpm
correspond to the flight idle and maximum speed of the aircraft engine respectively.
20
15Nm
10
Torque (Nm)
0 starting generating
-10 30kW
-20
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Speed (krpm)
Fig.1. Performance requirements indicated by torque speed curve
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Because the converter is used in the aircraft, so its reliability is a critical issue. In recent years, many
topologies are published to further improve the performance of whole system, but most of them are
very complex in structure and control method. What’s more, they need more active and passive
devices to implement their functions; this will further reduce the reliability of the system.
The final choice of the topology should be based on the characteristics and requirements of the
designed system discussed above. Two examples are given as follows:
The Shared switch topology can reduce the number of devices required per phase winding.
However, this will cause higher voltage, current, or power dissipation ratings in common switches
or/and diodes. Particularly, an increase in current rating may dramatically increase the package cost
beyond any savings that may have been made from a reduced number of switches [5]. This
disadvantage becomes more evident along with the decrease of the phase numbers. To most of the
Shared switch topologies, current overlap in the conventional sense is not allowed. To avoid current
overlap, the dwell period should be narrowed; this will lead to poor converter and motor utilization.
What’s more, the common devices may decrease the reliability of the system. So the Shared switch
topology is not the most suitable one.
In Bibilar circuit, the energy stored in the magnetic field of the phase winding can be transferred to
a closely coupled second winding. From there, the energy can be returned to the dc link or used to
energize another phase winding. The voltage rating of the switches and diodes in this topology is twice
the supply voltage [5]. If the supply voltage is relatively high, the selection of the appropriate devices
is more difficult. The perfect coupling is impossible in such systems, so snubber circuits are required
which will reduce the reliability of the system. What’s more, the additional winding will reduce the
copper area available to the principle winding which will lead to an increased phase resistance.
Consequently, the copper losses will be increased and the efficiency of the system will be reduced. So
the Bibilar circuit also isn’t suitable.
Finally, based on the above and further analysis, the Asymmetric half-bridge circuit is adopted
which is shown in Fig.2.
Phase Switch Phase Diode
Phase Winding
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Frequency Stress Calculation
The maximum allowable switching frequency of an IGBT has progressively increased. It is limited
by the maximum heat it can dissipate before the junction temperature reaches rated temperature under
specific thermal conditions.
The purpose of this section is to calculate the maximum switching frequency of the switches in the
power converter through out the whole speed range, and thus lay a foundation for the selection of
IGBT and the calculation of the its power losses.
As mentioned above, the SRM will operate under two modes: motoring and generating. Under
motoring, the power converter will operate in the Current Chopping Control (CCC) mode. Under
generating, it will operate in Angle Position Control (APC) mode. So the maximum switching
frequencies under these two operating modes need to be calculated respectively to achieve the final
result.
Maximum switching frequency under motoring
During system operation under motoring, the calculation of the converter switches chopping
frequency can be started from the following two voltage equations,
di ph
Vdc = L ph + Ebk (1)
dt
di ph
0 = Lph + Ebk (2)
dt
where, Vdc is the converter dc link voltage, Lph is the phase inductance, iph is the phase current, and Ebk
is the back emf. It should be noted that the phase resistance is neglected in (1) and (2).
When the two switches in one phase are turned on, the phase is excited by Vdc and its current will
rise. The time for the current to rise by the hysteresis current band value can be obtained by integration
of (1),
L phihys
Tr = (3)
Vdc − Ebk
where, Tr is the rise time of the current, ihys is the hysteresis current band value.
To minimize the converter’s chopping frequency, freewheel chopping is adopted. When the phase
current reaches the upper boundary of the hysteresis band, only one switch of this phase is turned off,
the phase winding is shorted, and the phase current will be driven down by the back emf. The time for
the current to decrease by the hysteresis current band value can be obtained by integration of (2),
Lphihys
Tf = (4)
Ebk
where, Tf is the fall time of the current.
Based on (1) and (2), the phase chopping frequency can be calculated as follows,
1 E (V − Ebk )
Fch = = bk dc (5)
Tr + T f L phihysVdc
According to [7], the back emf can be written as
ω
Ebk = Vdc (6)
ω0
where, ω is the speed of the machine and ω0 is the rated speed.
For IS/G machine ω0 is approximately flight idle speed which is 27000rpm in the system being
developed. Using (6), (5) can be rewritten as
V ω⎛ ω⎞
Fch = dc ⎜1 − ⎟ (7)
L phihys ω0 ⎜⎝ ω0 ⎟⎠
However, (7) is not the final equation. The real quantity of interest is the average chopping
frequency since this is what produces temperature rise in the inverter. In practice, the converter does
not chop continuously but rather only when the rotor poles are in the correct angular position relative
to the stator poles. According to this, (7) can be rewritten assuming that the converter chops for a
fraction of the phase period equal to α [7].
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αVdc ω ⎛ ω ⎞
Fchavg = ⎜1 − ⎟ (8)
Lphihys ω0 ⎜⎝ ω0 ⎟⎠
Here, α can be calculated as follows,
N (θ − θ on )
α = r off (9)
2π
where, Nr is the number of rotor poles, θoff and θon are the turn-off and turn-on angle respectively.
From (8), it can be found that the average chopping frequency will reach its maximum value when
the rotor speed is equal to one-half of slight idle speed.
Based on the analysis above, it can be concluded that the switches used in the power converter of
the undergoing system will reach their maximum switching frequency 8.971kHz at the speed of
13500rpm with 0.5 for α, the unaligned inductance (0.0001254mH) for Lph, 30A for ihys and 270V for
Vdc.
Fig.3 shows the switching frequency curve of the IGBT versus the machine speed under motoring
obtained by PC-SRD [8]. It can be found that the IGBT will get its maximum switching frequency
8.667kHz at the speed of 13000rpm. It verified the above analytical calculations well.
9 4
3.5
7
6 3
5
2.5
4
2
3
2 1.5
0 5 10 15 10 25 25 30 35 40 45 50
speed (krpm) speed (krpm)
Fig.3. Switching frequency under motoring Fig.4. Switching frequency under generating
Maximum switching frequency under generating
Under generating, the power converter will operate in square wave mode. The semiconductor
switches will switch at the phase frequency of the SRM which can be obtained as follows,
ω
Fph = Nr (10)
60
Because the maximum speed of the SRM is 50000rpm, the maximum phase frequency is 3.33kHz.
This also can be verified by PC-SRD.
Fig.4 shows the switching frequency curve of the IGBT versus the machine speed under generating
obtained by PC-SRD. It can be found that the maximum switching frequency of IGBT is 3.33kHz, it
occurs at 50000rpm.
Based on the above calculations, it’s clear that the maximum switching frequency of the power
converter is 8.667kHz, it occurs at the speed of 13000rpm under motoring.
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current of the component. The continuous current rating has to be equal to or higher than the
maximum rms current of the component. Hence, the peak and rms currents of the IGBT and diode
should be estimated under both motoring and generating mode.
Under motoring, the peak currents of the IGBT and diode can be determined directly, they are equal
to the prescribed upper limit of the current chopping which is 260A in the considered system.
The peak current ratings under generating can be determined easily by analytical method. Fig.5
shows the phase current curves versus rotor position under generating.
300
300
250
200
200
phase current 1
150 phase current 2
150
phase inductance PC-SRD
100 100
analytical method
50 50
0
θoff θd 0
0 20 40 θc 60 80 100 27 35 40 45 50
rotor position (deg.) speed(krpm)
Fig.5. Phase current under generating Fig.6. Comparison between PC-SRD and analytical method
It can be found that there are two situations which are represented by “phase current 1” and “phase
current 2” respectively. In the first situation, the machine speed is not high enough, the back emf is
smaller than the applied dc link voltage, and the phase current will fall down after the turn-off angle
θoff. Hence, the peak current occurs at θoff. In the second situation, the machine speed is high, the back
emf is bigger than the applied dc link voltage, and the phase current will keep increasing until θd
where the back emf becomes zero due to the constant phase inductance. Hence, the peak current
occurs at θd.
The current at θc and θd can be calculated by (12) and (13) respectively, which are deduced from the
linear model of SRM.
Vdc (θ − θ on )
i ph = , (θ ≤ θ ≤ θ off ) (12)
ω [Lmax − k (θ − θ c )] c
V (2θ − θ on − θ )
i ph = dc off , (θ ≤ θ ≤ θ d ) (13)
ω [Lmax − k (θ − θ c )] off
where, Lmax is aligned position inductance, θ is rotor position, θon is turn-on angle and k is the slope of
the phase inductance.
According to (12) and (13), the maximum peak phase current 278.1A will occur at 27000rpm which
is the start point of the generating mode. According to the simulation results with PC-SRD, the
maximum peak phase current is 268.3A, it also occurs at 27000rpm. Fig.6 shows the comparison
between the results of the analytical calculation and simulation. It can be seen that the analytical
method is well verified, the error is due to the linearization of the SRM model. What’s more, it can be
found that the peak phase current at 27000rpm occurs at θoff (the first situation). Hence, both the
maximum peak current of IGBT and diode are equal to that of the phase.
According to above calculations, the peak current ratings for both IGBT and diode are 268.3A.
Considering appropriate safety margin of 1.5～2,
Ipeak=(1.5～2)×268.3=402.45～536.6A (14)
According to (14), the IGBT modules in the 400A or 600A rated current class should be considered.
The rms current ratings of IGBT and diode also can be calculated by analytical method. For
example, the analytical determination of the IGBT rms current under motoring is given as below.
Fig.7 shows the simulated current curve of IGBT under motoring by PC-SRD. If θon is considered as
the zero point of the rotor position and current chopping is neglected, the rms current of the IGBT can
be easily obtained by its definition.
Nr ⎡ ⎤
2
θa ⎛ I ch ⎞ θ off
I rms = ⎢
2π ⎢
⎣
∫0
⎜ θ ⎟ dθ +
⎜θ ⎟
⎝ a ⎠
∫
θa
I ch2 dθ ⎥
⎥⎦
(15)
where, Ich is the upper limit of the current chopping which is 260A in this paper, θa is the rotor position
where the current reaches the upper limit of the current chopping for the first time, it can be given by
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LminωI ch
θa = (16)
Vdc
where, Lmin is the unaligned position inductance.
Solving (15), it is obtained,
Nr ⎛ 2 ⎞
I rms = ⎜θ off − θ a ⎟ (17)
2π ⎝ 3 ⎠
300 400
PC-SRD
350 analytical method
250
200
250
The IGBT rms current calculated by (17) and obtained by PC-SRD simulation are compared in
Fig.8. It shows a very good match between the two sets of results. Current chopping is neglected in the
derivation of (17), so the calculation results are slightly bigger than that obtained by PC-SRD.
According to Fig.8, the maximum IGBT rms current is 176.2A which occurs at 1000rpm. By
PC-SRD simulation, it’s found that the maximum rms current of diode is equal to 173.8A, and it also
occurs at 1000rpm.
Further simulations by PC-SRD indicate that the rms currents of IGBT and diode under generating
are much smaller than those under motoring, so they are not considered here.
Based on the voltage and peak current ratings given above, the IGBT module
SEMiX603GAL066HDs and its respective GAR type are adopted, they are produced by Semikron.
Fig. 9 shows the circuit diagrams of these two modules.
Freewheeling IGBT Inverse
diode diode
Inverse Freewheeling
IGBT
diode diode
a) SEMiX603GAL066HDs b) SEMiX603GAR066HDs
Fig.9. Circuit diagrams of the selected IGBT modules
It can be seen that both of them consist of IGBT, freewheeling diode and inverse diode. Compared
with Fig. 2, it’s clear that one SEMiX603GAL066HDs and one SEMiX603GAR066HDs can
constitute one phase of the converter. To construct the whole converter, three SEMiX603GAL066HDs
modules and three SEMiX603GAR066HDs modules are needed. A photograph of the adopted IGBT
module is given in Fig.10.
Driver
Evaluation board
IGBT
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Thermal Analysis
There are two purposes of the thermal analysis presented in this section: Checking the thermal
applicability of the adopted power semiconductor products and selecting feasible heatsink.
As we know that the temperature rise is caused by the power losses. So, before the thermal analysis
of the converter, the power losses in it must be calculated firstly.
The power losses can be obtained in two ways: The first one is called instantaneous power losses
calculated by the product of the real time values of voltage and current. The second one is called
average power losses.
In the considered converter, the power losses are discontinuous. This will cause the fluctuation of
the junction temperature. It’s necessary to evaluate this fluctuation based on the instantaneous power
losses.
Fig.11 shows △Tjc, the transient temperature rise between the junction and the case, of the IGBT
and the diode at their worst-cases of heat dissipation respectively. It can be seen that the temperature
fluctuation is much smaller than the steady-state temperature rise, and thus negligible. So in this paper,
the average power losses are adopted.
25 350
IGBT @ 19000rpm worst-case
300
20
Diode @ 8000rpm 250
200
10 150
100
5 Ptotal-IGBT
50
Ptotal-diode
0 0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 5 10 15 20 25
time (s) speed(krpm)
Fig.11. △Tjc of the IGBT and diode Fig. 12. Average power losses of the IGBT and diode
Fig. 12 shows the average power losses of the IGBT and diode at several speeds. According to
simulation and analysis, the worst-case of heat transfer occurs under motoring mode, so Fig.12 only
shows the power losses under motoring mode.
Thermal applicability of the selected IGBT
Besides the constraints on voltage and current ratings, the thermal considerations are equally
important in the selection of the power semiconductors. Under the maximum power losses, the
junction temperature of the IGBT and diode mustn’t reach or exceed the maximum allowable value
given by the datasheet.
The junction temperature of the IGBT and diode can be easily estimated by
T j = ΔT jc + Tc (18)
where, Tj is the junction temperature, ΔTjc is the temperature rise between the junction and the case, Tc
is the temperature of the case.
ΔTjc can be calculated by
ΔT jc = Ptotal − x Rth ( j −c ) (19)
where, Ptotal-x is the average power losses (can be change to Ptotal-IGBT or Ptotal-diode as shown in Fig. 12)
and Rth(j-c) is the thermal resistance from junction to the case which can be directly got from the
datasheet.
According to Fig.12, the maximum power loss of the IGBT in SEMiX603GAL066HDs module is
296.2W which occurs at 19000rpm, and the thermal resistance from junction to case is 0.087K/W. By
applying these to (19), it can be found that the temperature rise between the junction and the case is
25.8K. If the temperature of the case is assumed to be equal to the ambient temperature which
normally is 313K (40oC), the junction temperature will reach 338.8K (65.8oC). The junction
temperature of the diode in SEMiX603GAL066HDs module can be got by the same process, the result
is 334.7K (61.7oC). These junction temperatures are much smaller than the maximum allowable value,
423K (150oC), got from the datasheet, so SEMiX603GAL066HDs and its respective GAR type can be
used in the considered power converter.
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Selection of the heatsink
In order to ensure the heat dissipation ability of the converter, the thermal resistance of the selected
heatsink should be considered carefully. Normally, there is a limitation on the thermal resistance value
of the heatsink.
In the considered power converter, all the IGBTs and diodes are mounted on the same heatsink.
Fig.13 shows the complete transient thermal model of the converter. There are six identical power
modules, Module1 to Module6, mounted on the same heatsink, the details of Module1 are shown. The
thermal models of IGBT, Diode, Interface and Heatsink in Fig.13 are so called π -thermal model [9],
the values of the thermal resistances and thermal capacitances can be extracted from the datasheet or
provided by the related manufacturers. Ptotal-IGBT and Ptotal-diode are the average power losses of IGBT
and diode as shown in Fig. 12. Ta is the ambient temperature.
The normal maximum allowable junction temperature for IGBT and diode is 423K (150oC). In this
project, 30K is considered as safety margin, so the maximum junction temperature should not exceed
393K (120oC).
Module 1
400
IGBT RTth1 RTth2 RTthn
According to several simulations based on the thermal model shown in Fig.13, to keep the junction
temperature below the maximum value, the thermal resistance of the heatsink adopted in this project
should not exceed 0.018K/W. Fig. 14 shows the transient junction temperature of the IGBTs and
diodes at the worst-case of power losses (Fig.12) with the thermal resistance of heatsink
Rha=0.018K/W.
Finally, according to above limitation on the thermal resistance of the heatsink, together with some
dimensions of the converter, the heatsink, LA20, produced by the company named Fisher is selected.
Fig.15 shows its photograph and thermal characteristic in terms of thermal resistance. It can be found
that the thermal resistance of the selected heatsink (400mm in length) is 0.015K/W, it’s smaller than
the limitation.
400mm
Conclusion
In this paper, the design of the power converter used in a 30kW SR S/G system is presented in detail.
Based on analysis and comparisons, the asymmetric half-bridge circuit is adopted as the topology of
the converter and the IGBT is selected as the switches used in the converter. The maximum switching
frequency of the switches in the converter is obtained by analytical calculation and PC-SRD
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simulation, the results of the two methods match pretty well. The voltage and current ratings for both
IGBT and diode are obtained. Some of the ratings are calculated by analytical methods, and all the
analytical methods are well verified by the simulation results with PC-SRD and Matlab. Based on
these, the power semiconductors suitable for the application are selected. Finally, the thermal analysis
of the converter is presented, the thermal status of the selected power semiconductor modules is
checked and the heatsink feasible for the considered power converter is selected.
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