The University of Southampton

FPProvisional000003 ELEC3 - USMC3208 - Power Electronics for Mechatronics Systems

Module Overview

To understand the concept of power electronics based converters for applications related to mechatronics.

Aims & Objectives



Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • To analyse the operation of power electronic converters.

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • To select suitable power electronic converters for different applications

Subject Specific Intellectual

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • To comprehend the operating principles of variable speed DC and AC motor drives

Subject Specific Practical

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to:

  • To select suitable drives for different applications


  1. Introduction to power electronics
    1. Introduce the concept of electronics power conversion
    2. Revise circuit analysis techniques
    3. Introduce power semiconductor devices (diode, Thyristor and power transistors)
    4. Heating and cooling
  1. DC-DC Converter
    1. Buck Converter
    2. Boost Converter
    3. Buck-Boost converter
    4. Operation, analysis and design techniques
  1. DC-AC Converter
    1. Single phase bridge inverter
    2. Three phase two level voltage source inverter
    3. Neutral point clamp (NPC) multilevel inverter (3 level)
    4. Modulation techniques
    5. Space vector theory
  1. AC-DC Converter
    1. Uncontrolled rectification
    2. Controlled rectification
  1. DC variable speed drives
    1. Four quadrant operation
    2. Motor control based on the DC chopper and H-bridge converter (common hardware topology).
    3. Closed-loop transfer function and analysis
    4. Stepper motors and operating principle
  1. AC variable speed drives
    1. Induction motor control - scalar control, open-loop flux vector control, closed-loop vector control.
    2. Permanent magnet synchronous motor control (sinusoidal MMF distribution, trapezoidal MMF distribution/BLDC) – vector control.
    3. Explanation of the motor control principles are based on the space vector representations of the three-phase electromagnetic quantities (e.g. voltage, current, flux).
  1. Drives design and selection requirement
    1. Power requirement (low and high power)
    2. Basics of drives auxiliary components (gear, bearing, coupling, encoder)
    3. Environmental protection (e.g. EMC, liquid, solid objects)
    4. Sizing based on the position, speed, torque, and inertia requirements

Learning & Teaching

Learning & teaching methods

Lecture – 40 hours

Tutorial – 8 hours

Coursework x 1

Laboratory x 1– BLDC motor drives


Assessment methods

MethodHoursPercentage contribution
The course assesses both the power electronic aspects (e.g. pulse width modulation, switching/conduction/snubber losses) and motor aspects (torque, speed, power). Tentatively, this coursework will require the students to select the proper power switches and electric motors to meet the application needs. Then, they will simulate and verify the complete power converter-motor operation with the suitable PWM and control algorithm in the PSIM/PowerSIM Demo software (which is freely available from the official Powersimtech website). The simulated results must verify their design meeting the stipulated requirements.-10%
This laboratory exercise provides an introduction to open loop drives of a brushless DC (BLDC) motor using power electronics system. It provides opportunity for students to obtain hands-on experience with several tasks of increasing complexity. They will construct and control a three-phase inverter to understand how it works. Then, they will test a BLDC motor to determine the rotor position and construct the commutation tables. Ultimately, they will programme Ilmato to read the Hall sensor signals which further control the BLDC motor -5%
1. Test (mid semester) – 10% Duration: 1 hour Tentatively, the mid-semester test aims to assess the students’ understanding on the fundamentals of power electronics, such as the basic concept of electronic power conversion, semiconductor switches, heating and cooling, and DC-DC converter. -10%
Exam2 hours75%

Referral Method: By examination

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