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Title: In-situ health monitoring of IGBT power modules in EV applications
Authors: Ji, Bing
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Power electronics are an enabling technology and play a critical role in the establishment of an environmentally-friendly and sustainable low carbon economy. The electrification of passenger vehicles is one way of achieving this goal. It is well acknowledged that Electric vehicles (EVs) have inherent advantages over the conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles owing to the absence of emissions, high efficiency, and quiet and smooth operation. Over the last 20 years, EVs have improved significantly in their system integration, dynamic performance and cost. It has attracted much attention in research communities as well as in the market. In 2011 electric vehicle sales were estimated to reach about 20,000 units worldwide, increasing to more than 500,000 units by 2015 and 1.3 million by 2020 which accounts for 1.8 per cent of the total number of passenger vehicles expected to be sold that year. In general, electric vehicles use electric motors for traction drive, power converters for energy transfer and control, and batteries, fuel cells, ultracapacitors, or flywheels for energy storage. These are the core elements of the electric power drive train and thus are desired to provide high reliability over the lifetime of the vehicle. One of the vulnerable components in an electric power drive train is the IGBT switching devices in an inverter. During the operation, IGBT power modules will experience high mechanical and thermal stresses which lead to bond wire lift-off and solder joint fatigue faults. Theses stresses can lead to malfunctions of the IGBT power modules. A short-circuit or open-circuit in any of the power modules may result in an instantaneous loss of traction power, which is dangerous for the driver and other road users. These reliability issues are very complex in their nature and demand for the development of analytical models and experimental validation. This work is set out to develop an online measurement technique for health monitoring of IGBT and freewheeling diodes inside the power modules. The technique can provide an early warning prior to a power device failure. Bond wire lift-off and solder fatigue are the two most frequently occurred faults in power electronic modules. The former increases the forward voltage drop across the terminals of the power device while the latter increase the thermal resistance of the solder layers. As a result, bond wire lift-off can be detected by a highly sensitive and fast operating in-situ monitoring circuit. Solder joint fatigue is detected by measuring the thermal impedance of the power modules. This thesis focuses on the design and optimisation of the in-situ health monitoring circuit in an attempt to reducing noise, temperature variations and measurement uncertainties. Experimental work is carried out on a set of various IGBT power modules that have been modified to account for different testing requirements. Then the lifetime of the power module can be estimated on this basis. The proposed health monitoring system can be integrated into the existing IGBT driver circuits and can also be applied to other applications such as industrial drives, aerospace and renewable energy.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering

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