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Adrian Perregaux, Ansoft, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
plexity, component response, or lectrical response of a Finite Element Analysis time constraints may require an magnetic component can alternate methodology. FEA softbe dramatically impacted software can generate ware is an alternative methodology by its physical construcfrequency, geometric and for the designer. One type of FEA tion. Many configuration possibilisoftware is PEmag that builds a virties exist, such as the type of core, material property tual picture of the component and whether the core has a gap, type of dependent models for a then supplies the appropriate elecwire, wire size, winding strategy, wide range of magnetic trical response quantification needconfiguration of turns, and amount ed. This software allows designers of insulation needed. Finite Elecomponents. to put their knowledge of physical ment Analysis (FEA) software component layout to practical use. allows the designer to easily explore It also allows designers to weigh the impact of each conthe impact of all of these considerations, and provides electrical response data so that quantifiable performance can sideration involved in the creation of the component so that the appropriate electrical response is achieved. be evaluated. Although particular effects are very well known by most designers, quantifying them is difficult without building a Gap Considerations PEmag was used to evaluate the impact of different physical component. This is especially true when combining more than one conceptual idea in the same configura- core gaps for a specific transformer configuration: 0.28 mm, tion. For example, it is well known that the leakage induc- 0.7 mm, 1.4 mm, and 2.4 mm. The fringing flux due to the tance increases when the separation between primary and core gap will impact the windings ac resistance, but to secondary windings increases, and also that interleaving what extent? Figure 1 is a transformer cross section and references two simple observations for the dc effects pertainreduces the leakage inductance and the ac resistance. The designer must have a timely and cost effective way ing to the winding. These two effects are, namely, that the in which to quantify a components electrical response. In dc quantities for resistance and inductance are simple to some instances a build and test methodology is sufficient for this issue. In many other instances, component com-
Figure 1. Physical layout differences, dc parasitics computation.
Figure 2. Resistance vs. gap size.
PCIM MARCH 2000 1
and the number of turns. Quantitative understanding about how these configuration alternatives impact the behavior of the magnetic component can be achieved through simulation. and winding placements. Figure 3. Sensitivity Analysis Once the optimum component configuration has been determined. The general transformer configurations are shown in Figure 3. The impact of 125 µm.com . The relationships for ac quantities are not simple especially in the presence of a gap in the core. The simulations also represent the importance of understanding the full nature of the factors involved with manufacturing magnetic components. frequency. Comparison of short circuit inductance vs. It is interesting to evaluate the changes in characteristics as a function of frequency.Magnetics FEA compute from known relationships. Figure 4. 2 PCIM MARCH 2000 Figure 5. www. The results presented in Figures 5 and 7 indicate that the FEA software accurately predicts the characteristics of the prescribed transformers. PEmag addresses the sensitivity analysis issues surrounding the design. core gap size. The next thing to examine is the insulation spacing between primary and secondary windings for the same transformer core with the no gap configuration. This requires a second evaluation phase for the design. FEA allows the designer to accurately compute these quantities. Note that there is a dramatic change in open circuit characteristics produced by the change in insulation thickness (effective spacing). Physical layout differences. it is important that it can be manufactured with a high degree of confidence in its performance. and often they cannot be simply computed. Short circuit inductance vs. bobbin placement. This must encompass the deviations in behavior due to manufacturing tolerances in general.7. Characterizing the component allows the use of this information to pick the optimum magnetic configuration. frequency with measurements and PEmag. but specifically as it pertains to physical tolerances and material properties. that is a sensitivity analy- sis. The results of the FEA simulations are shown in Figure 2. The difference in the average operating permeability of the core will often dramatically impact the magnetic component performance as well. The solution results are shown in Figures 4. cross section of the conductor. but throughout a fairly wide range of frequencies. The goal of the sensitivity analysis is to provide a clearly defined band of behavior for which the device can be expected to perform. and 375 µm spacing will be examined. Physical tolerances that impact performance are typically the core features. bobbin features. length of the conductor. not only at a particular frequency.pcim.
and a constant response throughout the volume. A second sensitivity analysis example evaluates the impact that a change in permeability can have on the component performance. PCIM MARCH 2000 3 . This assumes a specific excitation on the core. Open circuit inductance vs. Short circuit inductance vs. Figure 7.Figure 6. Figure 9 shows the wide range of values that can result from the location of the end turns. Figure 9. frequency with measurement and PEmag. One sensitivity example examines the impact that may occur if the last turns of the primary winding in a transformer (for example the last 6 of 150 turns) end up in either of two different locations in the bobbin. and there is a degree of uncertainty associated with it. Physical layout differences. frequency for the two different end turn locations using PEmag. The magnetic response of a core is generally nonlinear. and the second location explored is with these end turns being in the lower part of the bobbin. Most core manufacturers provide a single permeability for the core. Figure 8. Comparison of open circuit inductance vs. frequency using PEmag. The first location explored is with these end turns located in the upper part of the bobbin. The software enables designers to create geometry and material property definitions that depict the nature of the manufacturing tolerance deviations that they wish to explore. Measurements taken for this transformer fall within the computed band of behavior for the winding positioning. This indicates that the designer must evaluate perturbations within the extremes of possible tolerances expected. This single value for response is an approximation. Figure 8 shows the difference in the minor physical layout.
Magnetics FEA For example. Prototyping can now be done virtually and not physically. FEA will revolutionize the development of components exhibiting or dependent upon electromagnetic behavior. These steps are sequential. For more information about the products or services covered in this article.500 can affect the overall component performance. A look at how the permeability can influence the behavior of a whole circuit for this typical example can be seen with the waveforms in Figure 11. and tetrahedral in 3D. FEA is a multi-step process. which shows how the drain-to-source voltage (VDS) in a forward with a resonant reset converter is affected for two different core materials. The resultant waveform is dramatically different. developed by James Clerk Maxwell.. Comparison of short circuit inductance vs. and unacceptable under the lower permeability. 4 PCIM MARCH 2000 www. please use the reader service inquiry card and. The physics is computed locally in each piece The physics is computed globally for the total volume by combining the contributions of each piece Physical relationships can be observed from the physics result FEA has evolved over the past five years into a cost effective. Many physicists and mathematicians have worked their entire lifetimes in computing a single physics result. Methods for handling these relationships have evolved over the past 30 years to make the process of solving electromagnetic physics reasonable and easily available to the engineer. Mathematical relationships for electromagnetic behavior have been known for over 100 years. These smaller pieces are often triangles in 2D.000 to 1. Unfortunately. timely method for solving electromagnetic behavior. these relationships are very complex and most often do not lend themselves to simple computational methods. and they are best described by Maxwells Equations. as follows: Maxwells Equations are transformed from integral to differential form The total physical volume of a physics problem is broken up into smaller.pcim.com Figure 10. Drain-to-Source voltage in a forward converter with high and low values of permeability. changing the permeability from 4. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is one of these methods. well defined pieces.com .. Finite Element Analysis Figure 11. frequency using measurements and using PEmag. but the frequency of the resonance produced in the waveforms is drastically different because of the variation in magnetizing inductance produced within the transformer. It can be seen that the voltage spike due to the leakage inductance is almost the same in both cases. CIRCLE 350 E-mail questions and comments to editor@pcim.
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