Baseless power modules enable higher efficiency power conversion in aircraft

Microchip Technology Inc., in partnership with Clean Sky, a joint European Commission (EC) and industry consortium, has claimed the first aerospace-qualified baseless power modules. This new power module design is said to enable higher efficiency, lighter, and more compact power conversion and motor drive systems in aircraft electrical systems.

The new product development was driven by the need to reduce aircraft emissions and the transition to more efficient designs including electrical systems that replace pneumatics and hydraulics that power everything from on-board alternators to actuators and auxiliary power units (APUs), said Microchip. The EC has set stricter emission standards for the aerospace industry for climate neutral aviation by 2050.

Baseless power modules enable higher efficiency power conversion in aircraftThe Microchip BL1, BL2 and BL3 family of baseless power modules provide higher efficiency in AC-to-DC and DC-to-AC power conversion and generation due to the integration of silicon carbide (SiC) power Semiconductor technology. The power devices are 40% lighter thanks to the modified substrate and offer about a 10% cost savings, compared with standard power modules that use metal baseplates, according to Microchip.

Integrating SiC mosfets and Schottky barrier diodes (SBDs) for higher system efficiency, the BL1, BL2, and BL3 family delivers 100 W to more than 10 KW of power. The devices are available in several topology options including phase leg, full bridge, asymmetric bridge, boost, buck, and dual common source. voltage ratings range from 600 V to 1200 V in SiC MOSFETs and IGBTs to 1600 V for rectifier diodes.

The BL1, BL2, and BL3 devices meet all mechanical and environmental compliance guidelines in RTCA DO-160G, the “Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment,” Version G (August 2010). Industry consortium RTCA develops consensus on critical aviation modernization issues, said Microchip.

The modules are housed in low-profile, low-inductance packaging with power and signal connectors that designers can solder directly on printed circuit boards. The same height between the modules in the family also enables them to be paralleled or connected in a Three-Phase bridge and other topologies to achieve higher-performing power converters and inverters.

The  BL1, BL2 and BL3 baseless power modules are available as 75-A and 145-A SiC mosfet, 50 A as IGBT, and 90 A as rectifier diode outputs. Analysis and qualification reports are available on demand. Products are available for purchase at Microchip’s purchasing portal and through the company’s authorized global distributors.

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