and lighter than mechanical circuit breakers. A number of
active SiC development programs focus on high-reliability
assembly and including packaging for ±270 V SSPCs. Work
is also being done with SiC device manufacturers using
the latest fabrication technologies to drive improvements
in thermal characteristics and thus increase system performance and reliability.
Where electronic modules are deployed in the harshest
environments, such as within close proximity to the engine,
extremely high-peak temperatures can promote unwanted
chemical interactions between materials used in the assembly or with gases in the immediate environment. It can also
melt conventional solder-based interconnects and exacerbate known issues such as differential thermal expansion.
Solving these challenges can require extensive research in
order to identify combinations of materials that will coexist
benignly and develop suitable assembly processes.
In general, greater reliability is the overriding target of
today’s advanced design projects as typical commercial
aircraft become increasingly dependent on electrical systems
to perform important functions. Even where systems are not
directly exposed to extremely high temperatures, improving
thermal characteristics helps to enhance reliability. TT Elec-
tronics has developed a process to enhance power-module
reliability by helping maintain co-planarity and robustness
of the interface between the baseplate and substrate where
ensuring correct alignment has always been a challenge.
Innovation by our engineering teams now allows this tech-
nique to be used in aerospace applications, achieving high
quality, high production yield, and extending life. Increas-
ing the energy efficiency of high-power modules,
through advanced device and circuit design, also
helps improve thermal performance and hence
reliability, by minimizing internal power losses
Also, with increasing electrification, the importance of in-house environmental testing, such
as accelerated life tests and environmental stress
tests, is growing. The data gathered provides
vital process validation and information that can
be used to direct future research and thereby
help to reduce time-to-market.
The drive for more efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft is opening exciting new
frontiers in the design of high-reliability electronic devices
and systems for aerospace applications. Current progress
suggests everyone can look forward to safer, quieter, and
more economical air travel.
Silicon Carbide (SiC) technology
enables smaller, lighter devices
to improve safety and reliability in
aircraft electronic circuits. (Image
credit: TT Electronics)