Causes of Failure of Power Semiconductor Devices (PSDs)

Posted on 26 June 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When designing power electronics systems, many considerations must be taken into account in order to ensure reliable and continuous operation of power semiconductor devices (PSDs).  Despite the simplicity of the schematic design of circuits in power thyristor and diode applications, failures to PSDs may occur due to the large number of factors that can affect a device during the device's operation.

Every detail of any PSD application is determined based on the design features of the devices. Lack of knowledge or ignorance of application peculiarities of PSDs when designing a circuit and during mounting with a heat sink may lead to abnormal operation of the devices and consequently to parametric failure. Therefore, the analysis of failures is generally aimed at the identification of causes connected to them.

The root causes of failures of PSDs produced according to modern principles of design and technological standards can be nominally classified as following:

  • Incorrect mounting of PSD in equipment
  • Electrical and thermal operational conditions going above safe operation of PSD that is indicated by a manufacturer
  • Abnormal and emergency operation conditions of equipment, due to which the operation condition of thyristor goes above safe operation
  • Use of PSD with worked-out resource
  • Ignorance of design and technological peculiarities of definite types of PSDs chosen for specific operational conditions

For succesful application of power semiconductor devices, the considerations outlined above must be taken into account in addition to the general criteria for device selection. In subsequent articles, the root causes of PSD failure mentioned here will be described in more detail.

 

For more information, please read:

Device Failure due to Incorrect Mounting

Device Failure due to Electrical and Thermal Conditions

Served Out Power Semiconductor Devices

Selecting Power Components

Criteria for Successful Selection of IGBT and MOSFET Modules

Criteria for Successful Selection of Diodes and Thyristors

 

 

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