Glenn R. Skutt
Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Fred C. Lee, Chair
October 4, 1996
MnZn ferrites are widely used in power electronics applications where the switching frequency is in the range of several tens of kilohertz to a megahertz. In this range of frequencies the combination of relatively high permeability and relatively low conductivity found in MnZn ferrite helps to minimize the size of magnetic devices while maintaining high efficiency. The continuing improvement in semiconductor switches and circuit topologies has led to use of high-frequency switching circuits at ever increasing power levels. The magnetic devices for these high-power, high-frequency circuits require magnetic CORES that are significantly larger than standard ferrite-core devices used at lower power levels. Often such large ferrite cores must be custom designed, and at present this custom design is based on available material information without regard for the physical size of the structure.
This thesis examines the issues encountered in the use of larger MnZn ferrite cores for high-frequency, high-power applications. The two main issues of concern are the increased power dissipation due to induced currents in the structure and the change in inductance that results as the flux within the core is redistributed at higher frequencies. In order to model these problems using either numerical or analytical methods requires a reliable and complete set of material information. A significant portion of this work is devoted to methods for acquiring such material information since such information is not generally available from the manufacturers. Once the material constants required for the analysis are determined, they are used in both closed-form and numerical model to illustrate that large ferrite cores suffer significant increases in loss and significant decreases in inductance for frequencies as low as several hundred kilohertz. The separate impacts of the electrical and magnetic losses in the core are illustrated through the use of linear finite element analyses of several example core structures. The device impedances calculated using the FEA tools show fair agreement with measurement. An analysis of gapped structures and segmented cross-sections shows that these design options can reduce the severity of the dimensional problems for some designs.
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