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Electrical model of carbon fibre reinforced polymers for the development of electrical protection systems for more-electric aircraft

Jones, C. E. and Norman, P. J. and Galloway, S. J. and Burt, G. M. and Kawashita, L. F. and Jones, M. I. and Hallett, S. R. (2016) Electrical model of carbon fibre reinforced polymers for the development of electrical protection systems for more-electric aircraft. In: 18th European Conference on Power Electronics and Applications, 2016-09-05 - 2016-09-09, Karlsruhe Town Hall. (In Press)

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Abstract

Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) are increasingly used for structures on aircraft due to their superior mechanical properties compared to traditional materials, such as aluminium. Additionally, in order to improve aircraft performance, there is a continued trend for electrically driven loads on aircraft, increasing the on-board electrical power generation capacity and complexity of the electrical power system, including a desire to increase voltage levels and move towards DC distribution systems. Central to the reliable operation of an electrical power system is the development of an appropriate protection and fault management strategy. If an electrical earth fault occurs on a composite more-electric aircraft then the CFRP may form part of the route to ground. In order to develop an appropriate protection system and thus to understand the effects on engine generators it is necessary to investigate the fault response of this network. Hence a suitable electrical model of the CFRP material is required, which will enable CFRP to be included in a computationally-intensive systems-level simulation study of a more-electric aircraft (MEA) with fully switching power electronic converter models. This paper presents an experimentally validated impedance model of CFRP at an appropriate level of fidelity for use in systems level simulation platforms, enabling appropriate protection methods to be developed. The validated model considers the impact of the electrical bonding to ground, including the impedance added by a metallic frame that a CFRP panel may be mounted in. The simplicity of the model results in a less complex process to determine the expected impedance of the CFRP material, enabling a focus on the fault response of the system and subsequent development of appropriate protection solutions.