CONVERSATIONS WITH COLIN: Is material now the limiting factor perhaps?

Hello Colin. From reading your very cogent and helpful answers to those questions here I appreciate that you take the design of power supplies very seriously. I'm writing here out of ignorance of the design process and indeed materials used but I wonder if it’s coming to the point where the next set of advances is dependent on improvements in materials themselves and how they’re applied rather than design expertise? Thanks

Well what type of PSU is the real question me thinks. For example EI cores and C cores in transformer have been with us since before Tesla. Ferrite cores in SMPSU have been with us since 1960's. The next cores we will see and only because now we have semiconductors that can run at very high frequencies; the Piezo. In this type of transformer there is no iron nor iron dust core it’s a Piezo Crystal like the one in your digital clock or oscillator controlling your PC.

These lovely things vibrate at incredible speeds. For example I saw a 100KHz Crystal (Xtal) at STC as big as my hand on a visit with my dad. And now we make them so small and with their temperature controlled ovens and oscillator circuitry so small as to be seen as dust.

Now running a for example 5MHz from a power oscillator, by crudely changing the size of a second set of plates use it as a transformer. The sizes now are reduced e.g. 100W SMPSU transformer is about 32 x 32 x24; this is cool work.

Designers will always be needed to design the basic materials that change our lives.

Thank you for the question

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