Failure modes and reliability oriented system design for aerospace power electronic converters

Jayakrishnan Harikumaran, Giampaolo Buticchi, Giovanni Migliazza, Vincenzo Madonna, Paolo Giangrande, Alessandro Costabeber, Patrick Wheeler, Michael Galea

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Aircraft electrification has been a major trend in aviation industry for past 20 years. Given the increasing electrical power requirement for future more electric aircraft and hybrid electric aircraft, research efforts has been ongoing in high power electrical conversion for air-borne systems. Safety critical nature of aviation systems places reliability of aerospace power converters as a critical design concern. In this paper, power electronic system reliability is studied with emphasis on lifetime limiting factors of critical sub components. Reliability of voltage source power converters at different system voltage levels are modelled for a starter generator drive converter. A key observation is that Si IGBT devices are sufficient with respect to reliability requirements in low and medium voltage systems (up to 540 V). At higher system voltages (above 540 V), multi level topologies are necessary for designing with Si IGBTs. In constant power profile drive, system reliability is minimally affected by wear-out failure of film capacitors in converter DC links. In multi level topologies without enhanced voltage derating, system reliability is dominated by cosmic ray induced random failures. Simulation results demonstrate that at high system voltages (810 V), 2 L topology with SiC mosfets outperform Si IGBT based 3 L topology with respect to reliability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9306785
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Open Journal of the Industrial Electronics Society
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Lifetime estimation
  • mission profile
  • more electric aircraft
  • multi level converter
  • physic of failure
  • reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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