A novel methodology for macroscale, thermal characterization of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer for integrated aircraft electrical power systems

Jones, Catherine E. and Hamilton, Andrew W. and Norman, Patrick J. and Cleary, Alison and Galloway, Stuart J. and Atkinson, Robert and Burt, Graeme M. and Michie, Craig and Andonovic, Ivan and Tachtatzis, Christos (2019) A novel methodology for macroscale, thermal characterization of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer for integrated aircraft electrical power systems. IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification, 5 (2). pp. 479-489. ISSN 2332-7782

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    Abstract

    Carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) is increasingly used for aero-structure applications due to their high strength-to-weight ratio. The integration of the on-board electrical power system (EPS) with CFRP is challenging due to the requirement to thermally and electrically isolate these systems to meet existing safety standards. By capturing the thermal characteristics of CFRP at a macro (component) scale for CFRP components, it is possible to understand, and design for, the increased integration of the EPS into CFRP aero-components. A significant challenge is to develop a macroscale characterization of CFRP, which is not only of an appropriate fidelity for compatibility with systems-level models of an EPS but also can be used to represent different geometries of CFRP components. This paper presents a novel methodology for capturing a transient, macroscale thermal characterization of CFRP with regard to component layup and geometry (thickness). The methodology uses experimentally derived thermal responses of specific resin and ply orientation CFRP samples to create a generalized relationship for the prediction of thermal transfer in other sample thicknesses of the same material type. This methodology can be used to characterize thermal gradients across CFRP components in aircraft EPS integration applications, ultimately informing the optimized integration of the EPS with CFRP.