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UCL Mechanical Engineering
Faculty of Engineering Sciences


MECHGR11 Electrical Machines & Power Electronic Systems

To develop – an appreciation of the wide and diverse role in which electrical machines and power electronic systems are used; an understanding of design methods for electro-mechanical system design; and an ability to use analytical and computer simulation methods in their analysis.

Students having successfully completed the course will have the ability to:

  • Appreciate the range of electrical machines and power electronic systems and understand why different designs are being used in different applications.
  • Appreciate power electronic devices used in the control of different motors and generators and understand how these devices are used together to make a range of different drive systems.
  • Analyse constant and variable speed electrical drive systems so as to calculate key parameters such as torque, speed, efficiency, and power under steady-state and transient conditions.
  • Use computer based simulation tools to analyse electrical machine and power electronic system behaviour with an understanding of the mathematical algorithms upon which such tools are based.
  • Understand the ‘state of the art’ in electrical machines and power electronic systems and appreciate advanced materials and topologies that are influencing future designs.
Alt. Code(s) MECHM009, MECHGM11
Title Electrical Machines & Power Electronic Systems
Level M
UCL Credits/ECTs 0.5/7.5
Start September
End March
Taught by Professor Richard Bucknall  (Module Coordinator)
Various Guest Lecturers


Mathematics to second year undergraduate level to include complex number theory, ordinary differential equations linear, non-linear 1st order and linear 2nd order homogenous with constant coefficients. Electricity at first year undergraduate level to include basic theory and circuit analysis i.e. Kirchoff’s Laws, Ohm’s Law, Faraday’s law, Thevenin equivalent circuits, single-phase and dc circuit analysis.

Method of Instruction

Levelling (2 hrs); Classroom lectures (24 hrs); Computer based learning (2 hrs); Classroom tutorials (6 hrs); Revision (2 hrs).


The course has the following assessment components:

  • Written Examination (2 hours, 65%) to be sat in March.
  • 1 piece of coursework (10 hours 35%) to be submitted in January

The examination rubric is:

Answer THREE questions (from eight offered) in 2 hours.

The coursework rubic:

Write a pseudo ‘conference’ paper on a selected topic and give a short presentation. Topics include electric motors in ship propulsion, device developments, motor control circuits such as PWM drives.

MECHGR11 Electrical Machines & Power Electronic Systems

Recommended Reading

There are various papers and articles provided by the lecturer covering the course. In addition students have access to a computer based simulation packages, and electrical laboratory.

  • Electrical Machines, Drives and Power Systems (6th Edition), Theodore Wildi,

Prentice Hall ISBN-10: 0131776916


Types of Electrical Machines: The types of electrical machines and their uses including the transformer, synchronous generator, induction motor, dc machines, permanent magnet machines and small machines. Single and multiphase machines are covered.

Design of Electrical Machines: Design and construction of electrical machines; the general characteristics of the materials from which they are constructed; the magnetic, electrical and heat circuit interdependence and circuit analogies. Permanent magnets and designing of electrical machines using permanent magnet materials.

Equivalent Circuits: Equivalent circuits of each electrical machine type and the derivation of these circuits. Use of the equivalent circuit for performance analysis of the machine, particularly steady-state performance

Dynamics of Electrical Machines: The dynamic performance of electrical machines, induction motor start, parallel operation of synchronous machines, de machine transient behavior, inrush currents. Mathematical techniques to analyse the dynamic. Performance of electrical machines.

Types of Power Electronic Devices: The ideal switch; groupings of power electronic device types; constriction and characteristics of different power electronic devices including the power diode, the power transistor; the IGBT; the thyristor; the MOSFET; the MCT. Use of the power electronic devices in simple circuits and applications.

Circuits: The construction and operation of dc-rectifiers and-dc inverters-including single-phase and multi-phase types. Three-pulse and six-pulse types. The inverter operation including overlap and firing angle delay. Dc—ac applications including the use of pulse-width-modulation. The use of converters in ac-ac applications including the cycloconverter, the pwm inverter, the load­commutated-inverter. New drive types including the matrix converters and multi-level inverters.

Applications: Use of converters and inverters in practice with electrical machines and their general performance criteria. How to select and specify a drive for a specific application. Protection of circuits.

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