Master Course Description

No: EE 452


Credits: 5

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinator: Rich Christie, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering

Goals: Introduction to the theory, design and analysis of conversion of electric power by means of power electronics. Creation of awareness of novel applications of power electronics for computing, all-electric transportation, and renewable energy.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the basics and operations of power semiconductor switches.
  2. Know the building blocks of power electronics conversion.
  3. Model power electronic circuit systems in circuit simulators.
  4. Apply frequency response methods to closed loop control system in power electronic conversion.
  5. Analyze and design power electronic conversion systems.
  6. Propose, formulate and solve open-ended design problems of power electronics.
  7. Work in teams with heterogeneous knowledge and skills.
  8. Manage time in project work.
  9. Write formal project reports.
  10. Make formal project presentations.
  11. Demonstrate an awareness of current and future applications of power electronics.

Textbook: Power Electronics, A First Course, N. Mohan. Wiley 2012.

Reference Texts:

  1. Power Electronics: Converters, Applications and Design, N. Mohan, T. M. Undeland, W. P. Robbins. John Wiley, 2003 (3rd Edition)
  2. Elements of Power Electronics, P. T. Krein. Oxford University Press, 1998.
  3. Principles of Power Electronics, Kassakian, Schlecht, Verghese. Addison-Wesley 1991.

Prerequisites by Topic: EE 331, EE 351.


  1. Intro to Power electronic switching devices
  2. Switching power pole
  3. DC/DC conversion: buck, boost, buck-boost
  4. Average modeling
  5. Feedback and phase margin control
  6. Power electronics devices
  7. AC/DC conversion
  8. Power factor correction
  9. DC/AC conversion

Course Structure: The class meets for lecture three days a week and for lab three hours a week. There is a regular weekly homework, and weekly quizzes. A design project is required by the end of the instruction period.

Computer Resources: Students use computer facilities for their homework, laboratory assignments and final projects.

Laboratory Experience:

  1. Power electronic converter simulation.
  2. Design and realization of open loop buck converter.
  3. Design and realization of closed loop boost converter.
  4. Open-ended design project with topic based on student proposal.

Outcome Coverage (Notation: (L) - low significance; (M) - medium significance; (H) - high significance):

a. (M) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. Power electronic conversion and control is described through mathematical models that are discussed in lectures and used in homework.

b. (M) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data. For each laboratory assignment, the students are given a list of objectives, and students are to design the power electronic conversion system to achieve the objectives. As part of the laboratory experiments, students analyze and interpret experiment data, and modify the conversion systems such the objectives are met. The design project work includes the necessity to design and conduct experiments. (M)

c. (H) An ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and sustainability. Throughout the homework, laboratory experiments and design project work, the students are required to design power electronic conversion systems to meet given objectives under realistic constraints. Designs are tested through simulation or hardware implementation, and modifications are implemented as needed.

d. (M) An ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams. Students form teams of up to 3 students in the laboratory and for the design project work. Cooperative working relationship is required to achieve the experiment or project objectives.

e. (M) An ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems. Real engineering problems are encountered during the laboratory and design project work. An example is the necessity to regulate the voltage in DC/DC converters. The problem is identified in open loop tests. Through closed loop designs the problem is solved.

f. (M) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. The ethics of patent protection are discussed and considered in the design project.

g. (H) An ability to communicate effectively. Written reports are prepared for each laboratory experiment and the design project. The work and results of the design project are presented by the students in class. Grades are given for presentation and writing quality.

h. (H) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context. The key to all power conversion is efficiency, which has a significant environmental impact. Efficiency evaluation is one of the central topics of the course.

i. (H) A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning. To promote self education, not all information that is needed to succeed in the laboratory and design project work is covered in the lectures. The students have to identify and find data sheets for power electronic devices, consider further references, and are encouraged to use the Internet to find information in general. This helps students realize that they need to be able to learn material on their own. This mechanism operates strongly during project work.

j. (M) A knowledge of contemporary issues. The course includes discussion of new and current applications of power electronics, and new power electronics devices.

k. (M) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. Circuits simulators and oscilloscopes are used as modern engineering tools in the laboratory experiments.

ABET Criterion 4 Considerations:

Engineering standards - Students are provided with realistic specifications which must be satisfied by their designs. As an example, IEEE Standard 519-1992 on recommended practices and requirements for harmonic control in electrical power systems is discussed.

Realistic constraints - The design problems formulated for the laboratory experiments provide realistic constraints on the power electronic system. Given specifications include minimum and maximum load levels and maximum ripple. Students learn how to use information contained in data sheets that gives the constraints power management products. An example studied in the laboratory experiments is the 3524 family of regulating pulse width modulators.

Economic - As part of their design project work, students devise project plans that are to include the procurements of the parts that are necessary to realize the designs. Students recognize the economic benefits of ordering parts in time by avoiding high shipping charges. Students compare the parts cost of their designs to commercially available equivalent designs.

Environmental - Calculation of efficiencies of designs are an integral part of the course. Students become aware that increased efficiencies mean lower energy consumption. This links to the prerequisite course EE 351 Introduction to Electrical Energy Devices and Systems where the environmental impacts of power generation are discussed in detail. To deepen the awareness, power electronics is discussed as an enabling technology for the use of renewable energy sources. 

Sustainability - Power electronics is discussed as an enabling technology for the use of sustainable renewable energy sources. Through the considerations of efficiencies of designs, students are made aware of the fact that increased efficiencies imply less consumption of electric energy. Again, this links to the prerequisite course EE 351 Introduction to Electrical Energy Devices and Systems where the availability and depletion of finite resources is discussed.   

Ethical - Considered here are the issue of patents and the importance of citing sources for material or ideas.

Health and safety - Students are made aware of maintaining safety in a laboratory environment. As an example, the importance of considering the polarity when handling electrolytic capacitors is discussed. Students are provided with safety glasses at the beginning of the course.

Prepared By: K. Strunz, Rich Christie

Last revised: 10/09/2012