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SiC switch handles heat 100 degrees higher than silicon

Puqi NIng (Photograph by Dave Franusich)

Graduate student Puqi Ning

In collaboration with Boeing, CPES researchers have been working on a silicon carbide (SiC) high power density motor drive (HDMC) designed to regulate and control the speed and torque of a motor. It takes in 230V, variable frequency, three-phase ac power, converts it to 650V dc internally, and then outputs up to 10kW three-phase ac to the high density permanent magnet synchronous motor developed in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The team has achieved a very good power-to-weight ratio, exceeding 2kW per pound.

The use of SiC enables the switch to handle temperatures of up to 250°C, 100°C higher than comparable silicon-based technology. The higher maximum temperature means that less space and weight needs to be devoted to heat management, increasing power density and improving the power-to-weight ratio.