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Teaching Electric Machines And Power Electronics: Emphasis And Challenges

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

New EET Course Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1070.1 - 7.1070.9



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Paper Authors

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Youakim Al Kalaani

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Abul Azad

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Session 2548

Teaching Electric Machines and Power Electronics: Emphasis and Challenges

Youakim Al Kalaani, Abul K M Azad

Northern Illinois University, Technology Department


The widespread applications of industrial power electronics and electric machine drives have increased the need for graduates well trained in leading edge motor control technologies. Efficient and flexible power electronics circuits are used nowadays in most areas of industrial applications, including dc and ac motor control and commercial electric power transmission and generation. This paper describes the development of an electrodynamics program in the Engineering Technology Department at Northern Illinois University. An effective approach to introduce students to electric machines and the latest solid-state technologies as applied to motor speed controls is presented. A sequence of training modules is developed on low-power, industrial-type equipment that enables students to perform visual inspection of the machine’s internal construction. Other supporting instructional technologies are also presented, and discussed, in this paper.

I. Introduction

Over the past decade, advancement in switching power conversion and variable-speed drives has dominated all aspects of industrial applications. Consequently, the need for well-trained people who can operate and maintain this high-tech equipment has substantially increased. This high demand for qualified engineers and technician has not gone unnoticed. Many colleges across the nation have witnessed growing enrollment in this rapidly changing field. Classically, electric machines and power electronics have been taught as two separate entities independent from each other. This is the case in most engineering institutions with graduate courses, since power electronics has many other industrial applications. However, teaching modern machines with variable-speed drives is no longer possible without considerable knowledge of power electronics1.

The traditional approach in engineering technology education has been to offer students a sequence of core courses that is followed by specialty ones. However, this approach has recently been scrutinized due to documented2 lack of connectivity between topics. The Herrick & Jacob series, for instance, has started combining ac and dc circuit theory with electronics to support circuit development and analysis. Technology educators are increasingly in favor of course integration to cover modern industrial applications. In fact, many institutions are considering this

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Al Kalaani, Y., & Azad, A. (2002, June), Teaching Electric Machines And Power Electronics: Emphasis And Challenges Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10944

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