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PhD project title

Finite element modelling for resonant power converter design and packaging

Outline description, including interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international dimensions (300 words max)

Power Electronics resonant power conversion systems have many desirable effects suitably oriented for modern power system architecture. Switching at high-frequency and resonance results in a smaller volume of magnetics but causes higher loss density. Thus design and characterisation of a resonant converter have a notable implication on its performance. This project aims at proposing an equivalent thermal model of a multi-layer transformer winding in power converters estimating and calculating copper and core losses, and thermal resistance and capacitance. Several cores for the converter will be explored. This is an exciting development for the packaging industry because the outcome is envisaged to mitigate the drawbacks of low-efficiency converters and meet the requirements of miniaturisation, and high power density. In addition, the effects of temperature change on thermal properties of material and coolant will be studied. Time-domain analysis and response of the proposed thermal network will be validated using PLECS/MATLAB software. Furthermore, 5kW, ~20kHz converter will be optimised and analysed through the finite element method.

The research activities bring expertise from electrical, mechanical engineering, and international partner and include modelling design, with particular emphasis on addressing the limitations of existing technologies for power converters packaging. The measurable objectives of the proposed research are:

1- To design a resonant converter that keeps components to a minimum with the view to maximising efficiency and reliability and miniaturising the system.

2- To investigate medium frequency power conversion systems with the employment of Finite Element Methods for the transformer.

3- To model and study the electric field distribution imposed by the medium voltage direct current waveform using the multi-physics simulation package COMSOL interlined with MATLAB.

4- To develop a model which optimises the operation of the proposed converter in terms of voltage stresses and losses, and which is tolerant of a wide range of operating conditions.


Key words/descriptors



Finite element modelling, power converter, packaging.

Fit to CITI-GENS theme(s)

  • Information Technology,
  • Advanced Manufacturing,
  • Life Sciences
  • Creative Industries.

Supervisor Information



First Supervisor:  Dr Ahmad Elkhateb,  School: Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EEECS)

Second Supervisor:  Dr Gary Menary,  School: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Third Supervisor:  Dr Che HangSeng,  Company: UM Power Energy Dedicated Advanced Centre, University of Malaya

What costs are associated with the project and how will they be funded?

PhD students in the School have the opportunity to apply to be demonstrators on undergraduate

modules. Compensation for this can amount to in excess of £2,400 per year.

Name of non-HEI partner(s)

UM Power Energy Dedicated Advanced Centre, University of Malaya

Contribution of non-HEI partner(s) to the project:




The partner will support the project by providing consultation and access to many state-of-the-art facilities including Measurement and Testing Equipment, and High Precision I-V Tester. The centre is accredited (MS-ISO/IEC-17025) to provide a service for Power Inverter Testing from 100 W to 10 kW, and types of testing covered under this accreditation are Power factor, Current harmonics, Under and over-voltage/frequency, Voltage Flicker and Anti-Islanding. This is a unique opportunity for this project to apply knowledge and skills, and ultimately to impact productively on international context.


The successful candidate will take part in a 1-3 week placement with the partner.

Subject area

Power Electronics and Renewable Energy