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The University of Southampton

ELEC2208 Power Electronics and Drives

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Understand the operation of modern drive systems applied to industrial applications including robotics and advanced machine tools
  • Apply your knowledge of the electrical characteristics of power semiconductor devices, to select power semiconductor devices for a range of applications
  • Understand the basic topology of converters, inverters and power supplies
  • Understand the dynamics of mechanical systems found in industrial applications
  • Characterise the operation of motors, drives, sensors and the mechanical power train within the drive system.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Perform design calculations for drive and power converter applications, and understand the approximations used
  • Understand the advantages and disadvantages that different motors drives will bring to an application
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Transfer understanding and theories from one discipline to another, in particular from the mechanical design to the electrical power and control domains
  • Understand the wide range of issues that impact on the use of drive system in the industrial context, including safety, efficiency and costs (procurement, running and disposal)
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Investigate the characteristics and performance of a power converter or electric drive
  • Analyse a specific application and produce the drive requirements that will result in the selection of sizing of a suitable drive system.
  • Demonstrate the basic skills required to operate a power converter and electric drive


The Drive Environment: - Robotic and machine tool applications - Introduction to position and speed control systems, dynamics and load characteristics, power transmission, environmental factors - Determination of speed and torque requirements, motion profiles, installation considerations. Devices: - Review of diodes, thyristors, bipolar junction transistors, MOSFETs, IGBTs - Basic characteristics of all devices, drive requirements - Thermal management, protection. Converters: - Two and six pulse circuits - Derivation of operating equations - Overlap and its effect on output waveforms. Inverters: - Three-phase inverters, dc link inverter - Forced-commutation thyristor circuits. Specification of Drive Systems: - Mechanical transmission elements, gears, leadscrews, belts etc. - Sizing algorithms. Position and Velocity Transducers: - Specifications, analogue versus digital, review of available linear and rotary systems. Servo Drive Systems: - Consideration of specific drives and their operating characteristics including brushed d.c. series motor drives, brushless d.c. motor drives, and vector-controlled a.c. motor drives. Controllers: - Integration into the drive package, networking. Power Supplies: - Linear and switched mode power supplies - Practical characteristics and analysis of step-up and step-down switched mode power supplies.

Learning and Teaching

Follow-up work24
Wider reading or practice37
Preparation for scheduled sessions24
Completion of assessment task7
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Lander C W (1993). Power Electronics. 

Rashid M H (2004). Power Electronics: Circuits Devices & Applications. 

Laboratory space and equipment required. 

Bradley D A (1987). Power Electronics. 

Richard Crowder (2006). Electric Drives and Electromechanical Systems. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 20%
Final Assessment  80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: ELEC1200 AND MATH1055

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