DC line to line short-circuit fault management in a turbo-electric aircraft propulsion system using superconducting devices

Venuturumilli, Sriharsha and Berg, Frederick and Prisse, Lucien and Zhang, Min and Yuan, Weijia (2019) DC line to line short-circuit fault management in a turbo-electric aircraft propulsion system using superconducting devices. IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity, 29 (5). 8681419. ISSN 1051-8223 (https://doi.org/10.1109/TASC.2019.2909206)

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Electric aircraft has already become a reality, with demonstration flights at power ratings of less than 1 MVA. Conventional machines and distribution technologies suffer from poor power densities when scaling to large power demands, leading to significant challenges in applying this technology from small (<10-seater) to large (>100-seater) planes. Superconducting devices could be an enabler for electric aviation due to their great potential for high efficiency and low weight. However, while the development of the superconducting components presents a significant challenge, the safe and effective combination of such components into a propulsion system also requires a significant area of research. For this purpose, a signal-based MATLAB-Simscape model for a dc network architecture in a turbo-electric aircraft has been established and the highly nonlinear models for the superconducting devices have been developed and integrated. This network model has been used to understand the fault current magnitude and rise time, as well as the stability behavior of the system utilizing the realistic electro-thermal models of superconducting devices in it. The derived network was investigated for a bus bar short circuit fault using both superconducting fault current limiter and fault current limiting high temperature superconducting (FCL HTS) cable. Based on the network characteristics, a fault tolerant dc network design was achieved by utilizing the FCL HTS cables. Similarly, the operation limits of the protection devices have been reduced greatly using superconducting components.