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Title: Optimisation of high voltage electrical systems for aerospace applications
Author: Christou, Ilias
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 3103
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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Increased electrical power demands are being experienced on the new generation of aircraft due to an increased reliance on electrical technology of systems such as air conditioning, de-icing systems and electrical flight control actuation. Distribution of power at higher AC and DC voltages is therefore now being seen in modern aircraft to avoid the penalties incurred due to high cable weights. Voltages have increased past the minimum of Paschen's law resulting in a risk that life limiting partial discharge (PD) damage can occur in the insulation systems. This thesis uses a theoretical analysis backed by PD experimental results to investigate the optimal operating voltage of a cabling system. In addition, it proposes a methodology for optimizing the operating voltage level based on an analysis of the power carrying capability of cabling within a fixed and a non-fixed volume system and the derivation of the cable weight as a function of voltage. Furthermore the power carrying capability of a certain round cable system is compared with an insulated flat conductor system as in a printed circuit board (PCB). An initial assessment has been carried out to determine whether more power can be delivered via insulated flat solid conductors as in a PCB, instead of using round cables. The reason why there is a need to investigate this aspect, is because using new PCB technology can offer several advantages over traditional cabling harnesses. The work done has shown that the optimal operating point (e.g. maximum power to weight ratio) for an aircraft power system, does not improve after certain voltage levels. A tradeoff between cable weight and power transfer is required and furthermore the use of DC systems can result in higher power transfers than conventional three phase/400Hz AC systems. The PCB maximum power transfer assessment has also shown that insulated flat conductor systems can offer higher power transfer efficiencies. In addition, experimental AC and DC PD tests on certain unscreened aerospace cables (laid out in different configurations), have shown that the theoretical analysis employed to determine cable safe operating voltages gives conservative results.
Supervisor: Cotton, Ian Sponsor: EPSRC ; Rolls-Royce plc.
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: High Voltage Systems, Optimisation, Cable Systems, Electrical Discharge, Aircraft, Electrical Systems, ; Partial Discharge, Discharges at low pressure