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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Ultra-Lightweight, High Efficiency Silicon-Carbide (SIC) Based Power Electronic Converters, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Ultra-Lightweight, High Efficiency Silicon-Carbide (SIC) Based Power Electronic Converters, Phase I
This Small Business of Innovation Research Phase I proposal seeks to investigate and prove the feasibility of developing highly efficient, ultra-lightweight SiC semiconductor based power electronic converters for Earth science mission vehicles. With high temperature operation of power electronics components, heatsinking and active cooling thermal management strategies can be significantly downgraded; thus reducing the size, volume, and weight of the overall power electronic systems by as much as an order of magnitude. This would translate directly to savings in space launch costs and in improving vehicle payload capacity. SiC power devices have a theoretical junction temperature operational limit of over 600oC, and with the recent advancement of these devices, high efficiency ultra-lightweight power electronics system will become a reality within the next 5 years. SiC power devices also offer other improved performance characteristics over their silicon counterparts, including 10x the blocking voltages, 10x the power densities, reduced switching losses, and improved switching frequencies up into the 10s of GHz range. Modularizing these SiC power converters for easy utilization in all facets of NASA vehicular power management and distribution applications would provide the potential for substantial financial savings, improved reliability, and improved performance. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.