Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Electrical Engineering (MEE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. JiangBiao He


Medium-voltage DC (MVDC) distribution is an enabling technology for the electrification of transportation such as aircraft and shipboard. One main obstacle for DC distribution is the lack of adequate circuit fault protection. The challenges are due to the rapidly rising fault currents and absence of zero crossings in DC systems compared to AC counterparts. Existing DC breaker solutions lack comprehensive consideration of energy efficiency, power density, fault interruption speed, reliability, and implementation cost.

In this thesis, two circuit topologies of improved DC circuit breakers are developed: the resonant current source based hybrid DC breaker (RCS-HDCB) and the high temperature superconductor fault current limiter based solid state DC breaker (HTS-FCL-SSDCB). The RCS-HDCB utilizes a controllable resonant current source based upon wide bandgap (WBG) switches that enable low loss and fast fault interruption due to the fast switching speed. The voltage applied by the controllable resonant current source is much lower than the rated voltage of the DC breaker, allowing the utilization of significantly lower voltage rated WBG switches. The conduction path's sole component is a fast-actuating ultra-low resistance vacuum interrupter for high efficiency during normal operation. As the second DC breaker concept, the HTS-FCL-SSDCB is subdivided into a fault current limiter (FCL) and solid state DC breaker (SSDCB). The FCL is based upon a high temperature superconductor cable which has natural fault current limiting capabilities while having negligible insertion losses for normal load currents. The SSDCB utilizes WBG switches to decrease conduction losses compared to Silicon-based breakers. The FCL reduces fault current such that the number of semiconductive switches in the SSDCB is minimized. Both breakers feature a metal-oxide varistor device in parallel to clamp overvoltages and dissipate energy after fault interruption.

Modeling, simulation, and analysis in electrical and thermal domains are conducted to verify the functionality of the DC circuit breakers. The simulation results confirm the feasibility of these two DC breakers in their proposed applications of 2.4 kV electric aircraft and 20 kV shipboard MVDC distribution systems.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by the Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program under Award Number DE-AR0001108 in 2019; by the Southeastern Center for Electrical Engineering Education with the Woodrow W. Everett, Jr. SCEEE Development fund under grant SCEEE-19-02 in 2019; and by Schneider Electric under an undergraduate research fellowship in 2021.