Power Electronics - Introduction

Power Electronics refers to the process of controlling the flow of current and voltage and converting it to a form that is suitable for user loads. The most desirable power electronic system is one whose efficiency and reliability is 100%.

Take a look at the following block diagram. It shows the components of a Power Electronic system and how they are interlinked.

Block Diagram

A power electronic system converts electrical energy from one form to another and ensures the following is achieved −

  • Maximum efficiency
  • Maximum reliability
  • Maximum availability
  • Minimum cost
  • Least weight
  • Small size

Applications of Power Electronics are classified into two types − Static Applications and Drive Applications.

Static Applications

This utilizes moving and/or rotating mechanical parts such as welding, heating, cooling, and electro-plating and DC power.

DC Power Supply

DC Power Supply

Drive Applications

Drive applications have rotating parts such as motors. Examples include compressors, pumps, conveyer belts and air conditioning systems.

Air Conditioning System

Power electronics is extensively used in air conditioners to control elements such as compressors. A schematic diagram that shows how power electronics is used in air conditioners is shown below.

Air Conditioning System