Power Electronics

Rockwell Scientific to Develop High Temperature Silicon Carbide Motor Drive

Rockwell Scientific Co. (RSC), Thousand Oaks, Calif., will receive $1.5 million in an agreement with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a high efficiency, high temperature, compact motor drive for use in aircraft and spacecraft.

A major program objective is to develop a silicon carbide (SiC)-based switched reluctance motor drive to be demonstrated in fault tolerant electric actuators for operation at 200°C. High temperature SiC switches, packaging, control electronics, and motors are key components needed for advanced motor drives that can operate in harsh environments with minimal cooling. These configurations could significantly reduce the size and weight of power electronics as well as operating costs.

Rockwell Scientific will lead a program team that includes technical participation from the University of Kentucky, Boeing, and Rockwell Automation. The program will develop, produce, and test modular high power density, high temperature SiC power modules, high temperature control electronics, and high temperature switched reluctance motors for a wide range of applications in power distribution and conversion systems for aircraft (military and commercial) and spacecraft. Integration of thermal management with devices, controls, and motors will also be considered in component designs and packages. Ground demonstrations will be performed on these components operating in a high temperature aircraft power subsystem.

In addition to benefiting military systems, the resulting technology will have commercial applications in the medical, automotive, electric utility, aircraft, and oil exploration industries. Examples of product applications include hybrid-electric cars, power generators, aircraft ignition systems, and deep well instrumentation.

Additional information can be obtained at www.rockwellscientific.com.

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