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Board 68: Work in Progress: LabSim: An Ancillary Simulation Environment for Teaching Power Electronics Fundamentals

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

ECE Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Mohamed Khaled Elshazly University of Toronto Orcid 16x16

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Mohamed Elshazly is a PhD student at the University of Toronto's Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE). He is currently engaged in developing support simulations for teaching introductory power electronics to undergraduate ECE students, as well as providing technical support. Mohamed's main research interests are numerical simulations and computational energy materials, focusing on quantum mechanical modelling of electrochemical energy storage devices.

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Hamid S Timorabadi P.Eng. University of Toronto

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Hamid Timorabadi received his B.Sc, M.A.Sc, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto. He has worked as a project, design, and test engineer as well as a consultant to industry. His research interests include the application of digital signal processing in power systems.

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Switch-mode power conversion is one of the most crucial topics in a modern undergraduate electrical energy systems curriculum. The importance and ubiquity of switch-mode power converters, however, are matched by their complexity. Students are expected to have developed a rigorous understanding of electrical circuits, semiconductor physics, signal processing, control theory, digital logic, and wave mathematics before being introduced to power electronics. Students at our institution are introduced to fundamental concepts in lectures then they put them into practice in hands-on labs, which are limited to three-hour-long experiments conducted in a strictly controlled environment due to safety concerns. This leaves little room for exploration and independent trial-and-error. We have developed LabSim, an out-of-the-box functional software implementation of the switch-mode converters studied in class, in order to provide students with the opportunity to practically explore power electronics fundamentals and experiment at their own pace. LabSim is implemented in Simulink using visual PLECS blocks, an approach that ensures students do not have to spend significant time learning new software or navigating complex mathematical models. A pilot run of LabSim was conducted over the course of a semester, with students being provided the models in pace with the relevant lecture and lab material. We present a detailed description of the LabSim implementation and the specific shortcomings it aims to address within our introductory power electronics course. We also present and analyze the positive results of the LabSim pilot project as indicated by a student survey emphasising learning impact and workload management.

Elshazly, M. K., & Timorabadi, H. S. (2019, June), Board 68: Work in Progress: LabSim: An Ancillary Simulation Environment for Teaching Power Electronics Fundamentals Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32405

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