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Impact of key design constraints on fault management strategies for distributed electrical propulsion aircraft

Flynn, Marie-Claire and Jones, Catherine E. and Rakhra, Puran and Norman, Patrick J. and Galloway, Stuart J. (2017) Impact of key design constraints on fault management strategies for distributed electrical propulsion aircraft. In: 53rd AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Reston, VA.. ISBN 9781624105111

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    Electrically driven distributed propulsion has been presented as a possible solution to reduce aircraft noise and emissions, despite increasing global levels of air travel. In order to realise electrical propulsion, novel aircraft electrical systems are required. Since the electrical system must maintain security of power supply to the motors during flight, the protection devices employed on an electrical propulsion aircraft will form a crucial part of system design. However, electrical protection for complex aircraft electrical systems poses a number of challenges, particularly with regard to the weight, volume and efficiency constraints specific to aerospace applications. Furthermore, electrical systems will need to operate at higher power levels and incorporate new technologies, many of which are unproven at altitude and in the harsh aircraft environment. Therefore, today’s commercially available aerospace protection technologies are likely to require significant development before they can be considered as part of a fault management strategy for a next generation aircraft. By mapping the protection device trade space based on published literature to date, the discrepancy between the current status of protection devices and the target specifications can be identified for a given time frame. This paper will describe a process of electrical network design that is driven by the protection system requirements, incorporates key technology constraints and analyses the protection device trade space to derive feasible fault management strategies.