This paper describes a multi-scale thermal analysis approach for the design of an air-cooled 1.7-kV SiC MOSFET-based medium-voltage variable-speed motor drive. The scope of the models and required efficient and flexible thermal models to be developed. Two modeling techniques are described that significantly reduced model run time and enabled more complex models to be run faster while retaining needed accuracy. The first technique uses the effectiveness-NTU method to extract convection boundary conditions from a CFD model that can be applied to a fast-running FEA model. The second is a porous media technique that enables system-level CFD simulations that incorporate effects from heat exchangers (e.g., pin fin heat sinks) that run in a fraction of the time required for fully resolved CFD simulations. The multi-scale approach to the thermal analysis enabled fast and accurate simulation for the converter design ranging from the die level up to the full system with 36 submodules. The modeling results were validated against experimental data from system tests performed by OSU.

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