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Establishing viable fault management strategies for distributed electrical propulsion aircraft

Flynn, Marie-Claire and Jones, Catherine E. and Norman, Patrick J. and Galloway, Stuart J. (2017) Establishing viable fault management strategies for distributed electrical propulsion aircraft. In: International Society of Air Breathing Engines, 2017-09-03 - 2017-09-08, Manchester Central.

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    Electrical propulsion has the potential to increase aircraft performance. However, this will require the design and development of an appropriate aircraft electrical system to power the propulsor motors. In order to protect this system against electrical faults, which have the potential to threaten the safety of the aircraft, a robust fault management strategy (FMS) is required. The FMS will comprise aspects of system design such as redundancy, reliability and reconfiguration and will rely on a range of protection devices deployed on the electrical system to intercept and manage faults. The electrical architecture will be shaped by the FMS as this will determine the optimal configuration to enable security of supply. The protection system is integral to the system design. Hence it must to be considered from the outset, as part of the wider aircraft concept development. This paper presents a robust framework to develop the optimal FMS for an electrical propulsion aircraft, which is subject to all the relevant aircraft constraints and incorporates the available protection devices for a chosen aircraft for a given developmental timeframe. A case study is then presented in which this protection design methodology is applied to the NASA STARC-ABL aircraft concept in order to demonstrate that the available protection for an electrical propulsion aircraft defines the possible electrical architectures.