The move towards commercialization of SiC based devices places increasing demands on the quality of the substrate material. While the industry has steadily decreased the micropipe (MP) levels in commercial SiC substrates over the past years, the achievement of wafers that are entirely free of MPs marks an important milestone in commercialization of SiC based devices. We present the results of a study for controlling the nucleation and propagation of MP defects in SiC ingots grown via PVT. Our studies confirm that during bulk growth of SiC, foreign polytype nucleation such as 3C-polytype occurs at the initial stages of growth (nucleation period) and/or during subsequent growth in the presence of facets. Results in this investigation suggest that polytype instability during crystal growth adversely impacts the MP density. Based on this key concept, growth conditions for nucleation and growth stages were optimized. These conditions were subsequently implemented in an innovative PVT growth environment to achieve a growth technique with highly effective polytype control. Under continuously modulated growth conditions, MPs induced by seed material and/or formed during the growth were eliminated. 2-inch and 3-inch diameter MP-free (zero MP density) conducting 4H-SiC ingots were obtained.