Power Electronics emerged in the early 21st Century as one of the most important areas of electrical engineering in all countries, being considered strategic in the industrial and social development of peoples.
It is a branch of the electrical engineering and can be defined as an applied science dedicated to the study of static power converters.
The power stage of a static converter consists of passive elements (resistors, capacitors and inductors) and active elements operating as power switches (Diodes, Thyristors, Transistors, GTO’s, Triacs, IGBT’s and MOSFET’s) associated according to specific rules and the laws of physics.
The static converters perform the electronic processing and controlling of electrical energy.
The main functions performed by static converters are summarized as follows:
- DC-DC converters;
- AC-DC converters or rectifiers;
- DC-AC converters or inverters;
- AC-AC converters.
Among the many applications of the power electronics we can mention:
- Switching mode power supplies (SMPS),
- DC motor drives,
- AC motor drives,
- Electric welding machines,
- Uninterruptable power supplies (UPS),
- Battery chargers;
- Rectifiers for electrochemistry,
- Direct current transmission;
- Electronic ballasts for fluorescent lamps;
- Active power filters;
- Static reactive power compensators;
- Inductive and resistive furnaces;
- Renewable power generation,
- DC and AC microgrids;
- Electric traction and propulsion;
- Aeronautical and space applications,
- X-ray power supplies;
- Power supply for radar transmitter.