The study of controlling the flow of electrical energy with the help of electronic circuits is defined as Power Electronics.
The subject of Power Electronics is the merger of the field of electrical power system and solid state electronic devices. It is the discipline that involves the study, analysis, and design of circuits that convert electrical energy from one form to another.
What is the difference between the linear Electronics and Power Electronics?
The specifications in linear Electronics are Gain and Bandwidth. Whereas the specifications in Power Electronics are Efficiency and Distortion.
Study of Power Electronics involves (but not limited to)
- Power Semiconductor Devices - Construction, Characteristics, Operation, protection (Just remember that there is huge difference between signal level semiconductor devices and Power semiconductor devices. Power semiconductor devices have to handle high voltage and current. In order to withstand the high voltage/current ratings, power devices construction is different from the construction of their low power counterparts)
- Energy storage elements
- Various Power Converter Topologies
- Control Strategies, Drive circuits of Topologies
- EMI, EMC, Heat Dissipation techniques
Applications of Power Electronics:
We can realise the applications of Power Electronics everywhere in our day-to-day life (home, office, factory, car, hospital, theatre etc.)
Some of the typical applications are
- Domestic and theatre lighting
- Industrial Process in the chemical, paper and steel industries
- Motor drives from food mixers, washing machines through to lifts and locomotives
- Power supplies for laboratories and uninterruptible power for vital loads
- Generation and transmission control
- Industrial applications mainly consist of two areas, motor control and power supplies. The motors which are controlled vary from very large(used in steel mills) to smaller ones( used in machine tools). Power supplies for battery charging, induction heating, electroplating and welding.
- Consumer applications cover many different areas in the home, such as audio amplifiers, heat controls, light dimmers, security systems, motor control for food mixers and hand power tools.
- Transportation applications like motor drives for electric vehicles, locomotives. In addition to this non-motor drive applications like traffic signal control, vehicle electronic ignition and vehicle voltage regulation.
- Aerospace and defence applications include VLF transmitters, power supplies for space and aircraft; and switching using solid state relays and contactors.
Scope of Power Electronics:
A power electronics engineer will study about various advanced power semiconductor devices, their characteristics,structures, applications.
He will analyse various converters and inverters, SMPS topologies and then he will study about the various power electronics applications such as HVDC(High Voltage DC Transmission), Flexible AC Transmission systems, Sources of EMI and designing of Electro magnetic compatibility(EMC).
So the power electronics engineer will get the opportunities in various industries like power system industries, power supply industries, automobiles and aerospace.
The Power Electronics Engineer will play the vital role in Power generation and distribution Industries (like Jindal, BGR Energy, Power Plants etc.)
The Power Electronics Design Engineer is required to design the circuits which converts one form of power to other form. ie, to design SMPS, Inverters, UPS etc. So the power electronics engineer is highly on demand in these industries (like APC, ABB, Vicor etc)
There is huge demand for power electronics engineer in Aerospace industry (GoodRich, Honeywell) and automobile industry as he is capable of doing various circuit analysis like Stress analysis, Sensitive analysis.