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# Thermal Simulation of a Buck Converter

## Dr. John Schnberger Plexim GmbH Technoparkstrasse 1 8005 Zrich

Introduction

In this exercise you will learn how to use the thermal modeling features of PLECS to create a combined electrical-thermal simulation of a buck converter. The specic learning outcomes for this exercise are listed as follows: Learn which components are needed for a thermal simulation. Setup a thermal simulation for a buck converter. Input conduction and switching loss data into the diode model. Establish the steady-state operating temperature of the heatsink. Establish the junction temperature of the diode.

Circuit

The circuit you will use for this exercise is shown in Fig 1. It is a buck converter with an IGBT switch that operates at 10 kHz. The electrical parameters are given in Table 1.

Background

To perform a thermal simulation using PLECS, three components are needed: a heatsink, semiconductor component(s) with a thermal description and an ambient temperature. The thermal simulation takes place at the same time as the circuit simulation but the thermal components are represented in PLECS in a separate domain. The thermal quantities and their analogous electrical equivalent are given in Table 2. In the analogous electrical circuit, conduction losses of a component are modeled as an ideal current

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## Fig. 1: Combined electrical-thermal simulation of buck converter.

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Thermal simulation of a buck converter Table 1: Buck converter electrical parameters Component R1 C1 L1 Vdc Duty cycle Value 5 100 F 1.2 mH 500 V 0.5

Table 2: Equivalent thermal and electrical quantities Therm. Domain Temperature (K) Heat (J) Heat ow (W) Therm. cap. (J/K) Therm. res. (K/W) Elec. Domain Voltage (V) Charge (C) Current (A) Elec. cap. (F) Elec. res. ()

source, the thermal impedance between the component and air as a simple resistor or RC chain, and the ambient temperature as a voltage source. This equivalant circuit is shown in Fig. 2. The PLECS heatsink absorbs the switching and conduction losses of all components contained within its boundary. All semiconductors located on the heatsink will have the same case temperature. In PLECS, the switching energy pulses are modeled as a dirac-type pulses, having a zero-width and an innite height. Therefore, either the thermal capacitance of the heatsink must be dened or a thermal chain with capacitance must be used to prevent the switching energy pulses from creating an innite temperature across the thermal resistance.

## Setup the thermal simulation

Step 1: Add thermal components Open the PLECS model Thermal_Buck_Tut.plecs and add a heatsink, thermal resistance and ambient temperature with ground to the circuit as shown in Fig. 2. These components can be found in the thermal component library. The parameters for these components are: Ambient temperature is 25 C. Thermal capacitance of heatsink is 0.01 J/K. Also set the initial temperature to the same value as the ambient temperature. Thermal resistance between the heatsink and ambient temperature is 0.29 K/W. Step 2: Add a thermal description for IGBT The conduction and switching losses for the IGBT has been predened in the le IGBT_thm1.xml. To add this thermal description to the IGBT you rst need to add the path of this le to the thermal description search path. Under PLECS > Preferences, add the directory that contains the IGBT thermal description to the search path. Press the rescan button to activate the change.

## J. Schnberger, Plexim GmbH

Thermal simulation of a buck converter set the thermal description search path to the location of the thermal description le, \Thermal_Lib. Double click the IGBT. Under thermal description, select IGBT_thm1 from the library to describe the thermal losses. Use the Edit command to look at the switching and conduction loss denitions. Add a Probe and use this to monitor the heatsink temperature. Run the simulation for 0.2 sec. What is the nal temperature of the heatsink? (76 C) >> Your model at this point should be the same as the model, Thermal_Buck_Tut1.plecs.

## Extend the thermal simulation model

You will now manually dene the conduction and switching losses for the diode to complete your model. Your task Double click on the diode and create a new thermal description. To dene the conduction and turn-off losses, use the parameters given in Table 3 and 4. Note that turn on losses are not dened since these are negligible. Save the model as Diode_thm1. Before you run the simulation, make the following changes to the model: Set the thermal capacitance of the heatsink to zero. Note that with zero thermal capacitance, the heatsink initial temperature becomes meaningless. Replace the thermal resistance with a thermal chain. The parameters for the thermal chain are Rth = [0.118 0.172], Cth = [0.95 2.4] and Tinitial = 25 C. Rerun the simulation for 1.0 sec. What is the nal heatsink temperature at the end of the simulation time? (97 C) >> Your model at this point should be the same as the model, Thermal_Buck_Tut2.plecs.

## Junction temperature analysis

Up till this point the thermal simulation has only taken into account the heatsink temperature. Of equal importance is the peak temperature of semiconductor junction. The junction temperature of a device can be found easily if its thermal resistance and capacitance are dened. Your task Edit the thermal description of the diode. Under the thermal impedance tab, use a Cauertype thermal impedance with one element to model the internal thermal impedance of the diode. The parameters are R = 0.5 K/W, C = 1 mJ/K. Open the PLECS probe on the top sheet and drag in the power diode. Select the option to monitor the junction temperature of the diode. Rerun the simulation. What is the nal junction temperature at the end of the simulation? (149 C) >> Your model at this point should be the same as the model, Thermal_Buck_Tut3.plecs.

## Average Loss Calculation

In many cases, a factor of interest is the average power dissipation of each semiconductor. The average losses for a component can be calculated by summing the losses that occur during a switching cycle and generating an average power pulse during the next switching cycle. This cycle average loss calculation procedure is summarized in Fig. 3. The PLECS C-script block is used to perform the per-cycle integral and summing operations on the conduction and switching losses.

## Thermal simulation of a buck converter

Table 3: Diode turn off losses (values in mJ) 25 C -600V -500V 0V 125 C -600V -500V 0V 0A 0 0 0 0A 0 0 0 5A 0.18 0.14 0 5A 0.4 0.34 0 8A 0.21 0.17 0 8A 0.53 0.44 0 10A 0.26 0.2 0 10A 0.66 0.55 0 15A 0.27 0.21 0 15A 0.78 0.62 0

Table 4: Diode conduction prole, values in V 25 C 120 C 0A 0 0 0.1A 0.6 0.38 0.8A 1.14 0.67 2.5A 1.53 0.94 4A 1.73 1.11 20A 2.75 2.11

## J. Schnberger, Plexim GmbH

Thermal simulation of a buck converter Your task 1. Open the le AvgLossCalculation.plecs, which contains a cycle-average component for calculating the average conduction and switching losses of a semiconductor. Use two of these components in your model in order to measure the average power dissipated in the diode and IGBT. Set the sample frequency to 10e3 to ensure the sync signal is the same as the switching frequency. Sum the Ptotal outputs to measure the overall power loss in the buck converter. 2. Place a heat ow meter between the thermal chain and the ambient temperature to measure the total average losses of both semiconductors. 3. Run the simulation for 5 sec. Compare the output of the heat ow meter with the summed output of the loss calculator blocks. Do the results agree? >> Your model at this point should be the same as the model, Thermal_Buck_Tut4.plecs.

Conclusion

In this exercise, you learned how to form a combined electrical-thermal simulation using PLECS. The fundamental component required for thermal analysis is the heatsink. You also learned how to create a thermal description for a switch by dening the switching energy loss as a lookup table and the conduction loss as a current-voltage prole.

References
 Stig Munk-Nielsen, Lucian N. Tutelea, Ulrik Jaeger, Simulation with Ideal Switch Models Combined with Measured Loss Data Provides a Good Estimate of Power Loss, IEEE Industry Applications Conference 2000, Vol. 5, pp. 2915-2922, 8-12 October 2000  Martin Mrz, Paul Nance, Thermal Modeling of Power Electronic Systems, Application Note, April 2000 http://www.iisb.fraunhofer.de/en/arb_geb/powersys_pub.htm