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31-10-2022 | Ceramics | News | Article

Power Semiconductors from the 3D Printer

Author: Leyla Buchholz

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Researchers at the Chair of Electrical Power Conversion Systems and Drives at Chemnitz University of Technology have succeeded for the first time in 3D printing housings for power electronic components. In this process, ceramic and metallic pastes are used.

Researchers at the Chair of Electrical Power Conversion Systems and Drives at Chemnitz University of Technology have succeeded for the first time in 3D printing housings for power electronic components that are used, for example, to control electrical machines. During the printing process, silicon carbide chips are positioned at a designated location on the housing.

As with its printed motor made of iron, copper and ceramics, which the professorship first presented at the Hannover Messe in 2018, ceramic and metallic pastes are also used in the 3D printing of the housings. These are sintered together with the imprinted chip after the printing process. Ceramics are used as insulation material and copper is used for contacting the gate, drain and source areas of the field-effect transistors. "Contacting the gate area, which normally has an edge length of less than one millimeter, was particularly challenging," says Professor Dr. Thomas Basler, head of the Power Electronics Professorship, whose team supported the project with initial functional tests on prototypes.

Following the ceramic-insulated coils printed at TU Chemnitz, which were already presented at the Hannover Messe in 2017, and the printed motor, drive components that can withstand temperatures above 300 °C are now also available. "The desire for more temperature-resistant power electronics was obvious, because the housings for power electronic components are traditionally installed as close as possible to the motor and should therefore have an equally high temperature resistance," says Prof. Dr. Ralf Werner, holder of the Chair of Electrical Energy Conversion Systems and Drives.


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