Conventional IGBT elements are not capable of blocking a reverse-withstand voltage. When an inverter circuit is used to drive an inductive load like in a motor, the load current will continue flowing in the reverse direction (emitter to collector) at the time of switching. This may damage the IGBT. The IGBT is protected by a commutating load current in a diode (freewheeling diode: FWD) connected inversely in parallel.
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