Universal Bridge

Implement universal power converter with selectable topologies and power electronic devices


Fundamental Blocks/Power Electronics


The Universal Bridge block implements a universal three-phase power converter that consists of up to six power switches connected in a bridge configuration. The type of power switch and converter configuration are selectable from the dialog box.

The Universal Bridge block allows simulation of converters using both naturally commutated (or line-commutated) power electronic devices (diodes or thyristors) and forced-commutated devices (GTO, IGBT, MOSFET).

The Universal Bridge block is the basic block for building two-level voltage-sourced converters (VSC).

The device numbering is different if the power electronic devices are naturally commutated or forced-commutated. For a naturally commutated three-phase converter (diode and thyristor), numbering follows the natural order of commutation:

For the case of a two-phase diode or thyristor bridge, and for any other bridge configuration, the order of commutation is the following:

GTO-Diode bridge:

IGBT-Diode bridge:

MOSFET-Diode and Ideal Switch bridges:

Dialog Box and Parameters

Number of bridge arms

Set to 1 or 2 to get a single-phase converter (two or four switching devices). Set to 3 to get a three-phase converter connected in Graetz bridge configuration (six switching devices).

Snubber resistance Rs

The snubber resistance, in ohms (Ω). Set the Snubber resistance Rs parameter to inf to eliminate the snubbers from the model.

Snubber capacitance Cs

The snubber capacitance, in farads (F). Set the Snubber capacitance Cs parameter to 0 to eliminate the snubbers, or to inf to get a resistive snubber.

When you are you using a continuous solver, you can completely eliminate snubbers by selecting Enable use of ideal switching devices in the Configure parameters section of the Powergui block dialog box. To disable snubbers in all power electronic devices, select Disable snubbers in switching devices.

When your system is discretized, you can simulate power electronic devices with virtually no snubbers by specifying purely resistive snubbers with a very large resistance, thus producing negligible leakage currents. The bridge operates satisfactorily with purely resistive snubbers when you select the Tustin/Backward Euler (TBE) discretization method (default solver in the Configure parameters section of the Powergui block dialog box).

If you are using the Tustin solver, you need to specify Rs and Cs snubber values to avoid numerical oscillations with diode and thyristors bridges. For forced-commutated devices (GTO, IGBT, or MOSFET), the bridge operates satisfactorily with purely resistive snubbers as long as firing pulses are sent to switching devices.

If firing pulses to forced-commutated devices are blocked, only antiparallel diodes operate, and the bridge operates as a diode rectifier. In this condition appropriate values of Rs and Cs must also be used.

When the system is discretized using the Tustin solver, use the following formulas to compute approximate values of Rs and Cs:



Pn = nominal power of single or three phase converter (VA)
Vn = nominal line-to-line AC voltage (Vrms)
f = fundamental frequency (Hz)
Ts = sample time (s)

These Rs and Cs values are derived from the following two criteria:

  • The snubber leakage current at fundamental frequency is less than 0.1% of nominal current when power electronic devices are not conducting.

  • The RC time constant of snubbers is higher than two times the sample time Ts.

These Rs and Cs values that guarantee numerical stability of the discretized bridge can be different from actual values used in a physical circuit.

Power electronic device

Select the type of power electronic device to use in the bridge.

When you select Switching-function based VSC, a switching-function voltage source converter type equivalent model is used, where switches are replaced by two voltage sources on the AC side and a current source on the DC side. This model uses the same firing pulses as for other power electronic devices and it correctly represents harmonics normally generated by the bridge.

When you select Average-model based VSC, an average-model type of voltage source converter is used to represent the power-electronic switches. Unlike the other power electronic devices, this model uses the reference signals (uref) representing the average voltages generated at the ABC terminals of the bridge. This model does not represent harmonics. It can be used with larger sample times while preserving the average voltage dynamics.

See power_sfavgpower_sfavg for an example comparing these two models to an Universal Bridge block using IGBT/Diode device.


Internal resistance of the selected device, in ohms (Ω).


Internal inductance, in henries (H), for the diode or the thyristor device. When the bridge is discretized, the Lon parameter must be set to zero.

Forward voltage Vf

This parameter is available only when the selected Power electronic device is Diodes or Thyristors.

Forward voltage, in volts (V), across the device when it is conducting.

Forward voltages [Device Vf, Diode Vfd]

This parameter is available when the selected Power electronic device is GTO/Diodes or IGBT/Diodes.

Forward voltages, in volts (V), of the forced-commutated devices (GTO, MOSFET, or IGBT) and of the antiparallel diodes.

[Tf (s) Tt (s)]

Fall time Tf and tail time Tt, in seconds (s), for the GTO or the IGBT devices.


Select Device voltages to measure the voltages across the six power electronic device terminals.

Select Device currents to measure the currents flowing through the six power electronic devices. If antiparallel diodes are used, the measured current is the total current in the forced-commutated device (GTO, MOSFET, or IGBT) and in the antiparallel diode. A positive current therefore indicates a current flowing in the forced-commutated device and a negative current indicates a current flowing in the diode. If snubber devices are defined, the measured currents are the ones flowing through the power electronic devices only.

Select UAB UBC UCA UDC voltages to measure the terminal voltages (AC and DC) of the Universal Bridge block.

Select All voltages and currents to measure all voltages and currents defined for the Universal Bridge block.

Place a Multimeter block in your model to display the selected measurements during the simulation. In the Available Measurements menu of the Multimeter block, the measurement is identified by a label followed by the block name.



Device voltages

Usw1:, Usw2:,Usw3:,Usw4:,Usw5:,Usw6:

Branch current

Isw1:, Isw2:, Isw3:, Isw4:, Isw5:, Isw6:

Terminal voltages

Uab:, Ubc:, Uca:, Udc:

Inputs and Outputs


The gate input for the controlled switch devices. The pulse ordering in the vector of the gate signals corresponds to the switch number indicated in the six circuits shown in the Description section. For the diode and thyristor bridges, the pulse ordering corresponds to the natural order of commutation. For all other forced-commutated switches, pulses are sent to upper and lower switches of phases A, B, and C.


Pulse Vector of Input g

one arm


two arms


three arms



The power_bridgespower_bridges example illustrates the use of two Universal Bridge blocks in an ac/dc/ac converter consisting of a rectifier feeding an IGBT inverter through a DC link. The inverter is pulse-width modulated (PWM) to produce a three-phase 50 Hz sinusoidal voltage to the load. In this example the inverter chopping frequency is 2000 Hz.

The IGBT inverter is controlled with a PI regulator in order to maintain a 1 pu voltage (380 Vrms, 50 Hz) at the load terminals.

A Multimeter block is used to observe commutation of currents between diodes 1 and 3 in the diode bridge and between IGBT/Diodes switches 1 and 2 in the IGBT bridge.

Start simulation. After a transient period of approximately 40 ms, the system reaches a steady state. Observe voltage waveforms at DC bus, inverter output, and load on Scope1. The harmonics generated by the inverter around multiples of 2 kHz are filtered by the LC filter. As expected the peak value of the load voltage is 537 V (380 V RMS).

In steady state the mean value of the modulation index is m = 0.8, and the mean value of the DC voltage is 778 V. The fundamental component of 50 Hz voltage buried in the chopped inverter voltage is therefore

Vab = 778 V * 0.612 * 0.80 = 381 V RMS

Observe diode currents on trace 1 of Scope2, showing commutation from diode 1 to diode 3. Also observe on trace 2 currents in switches 1 and 2 of the IGBT/Diode bridge (upper and lower switches connected to phase A). These two currents are complementary. A positive current indicates a current flowing in the IGBT, whereas a negative current indicates a current flowing in the antiparallel diode.

Was this topic helpful?