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Recent Advances in More-Electrical Aircraft Technology


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The application of electrical systems in aircraft design is changing. Electrical systems are now being used for a variety of tasks that previously would have been powered by alternate means. This seminar will look at these developments and the future of electrical engineering in aircraft and its technologies.

Date and Time

17 April 2013 - 19:00-21:00


Lincoln, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Jointly organised by the East Midlands of England local network and the Aerospace TPN.

About this event

The application of electrical systems in aircraft design is changing. Electrical systems are now being used for a variety of tasks that previously would have been powered by alternate means. This seminar will look at these developments and the future of electrical engineering in aircraft and its technologies.

The More Electric Aircraft by Professor Pat Wheeler FIET

There has recently been a major change in the design of aircraft. Electrical systems are being used in applications which have traditionally been powered by hydraulic or pneumatic sources. The Boeing 787 and the Airbus A380 both have significantly larger electrical systems than any previous aircraft and this has led to a wealth of technology developments. Electrical systems are now being use for aircraft actuation systems, wing ice protection, environmental control systems and fuel pumping. These new systems are helping to make future aircraft more fuel efficient and quieter, improving the environment for everyone.

The most important enabling technology for the More Electric Aircraft has been power electronics. Without power conversion none of the benefits of this technology would be possible. However, aerospace applications present some challenging conditions for power electronics and there are still a number of areas where improvements must be made in terms of the weight, volume, cost and reliability of systems. This presentation will introduce the More Electric Aircraft concept and investigate the potential benefits of the technology. Typical aircraft electrical power systems and loads will be described as well as the exciting, future challenges for the Electrical Engineering community.

Green Taxiing: An Innovative Motor Drive solution by Dr Chris Gerada

Adopting an electrified taxiing drive system for commercial airlines can bring about a number of advantages. Apart from the significant environmental benefits of drastically cutting carbon and other emissions, it also leads to significant improvement in operational and fuel efficiency on ground. The green taxiing system is powered by the auxiliary power unit and provides an added degree of flexibility and manoeuvrability of aircraft on ground. A major challenge of developing this system is the high peak torques required to accelerate the aircraft. Conventional electrical drives lack the power density and reliability levels required. In addition, integration in the main landing gear provides numerous mechanical and thermal management challenges. The presentation will describe an innovative, fault-tolerant, direct-drive motor design able to achieve unprecedented torque density and reliability values. The main aspects of drive topology selection, integration, design and construction will be outlined.


Professor Pat Wheeler

Having completed his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering for his work on Matrix Converters from the University of Bristol in 1994, he moved to the University of Nottingham and worked as a research assistant in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. In 1996, he became a Lecturer in the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Group at the University of Nottingham and since January 2008 he has been a Full Professor in the same research group. 

Professor Wheeler is Director of the University of Nottingham Institute for Aerospace Technology; Deputy Head of the Power Electronics, Machines and Controls Research Group and Director of the Clean Sky JTI Project (an EU funded Aerospace Research Project). He has published over 250 academic publications in leading international conferences and journals and his research interests include Power Conversion for industrial, aerospace and energy applications.

A Fellow of the IET, Professor Wheeler was a member of the Executive Committee of the IET Power Generation, Conversion and Utilisation Professional Network from 2005 to 2010. Today he is a member of the Executive Council of the European Power Electronics Association (EPE) and since January 2011 has been a member of the IET Technical Professional Network Steering Committee.

Dr. Chris Gerada

After graduating with a B.Eng and M.Sc from the University of Mata, Chris Gerada received his PhD in numerical modelling of high performance electrical machines at the University of Nottingham in 2005 within the Power Electronics, Machines and Control Research group. He was then appointed as a postdoctoral researcher, Lecturer in 2008 and Associate Professor in 2011. His principal research interests lie in high performance electrical machines and drives.

His principal research interest lies in electromagnetic energy conversion in electrical machines and drives, focusing mainly on more-electric transport, energy recovery from waste heat sources and distributed generation.  He is currently the director of the Cummins Innovation Centre in Electrical Machines at the University of Nottingham and has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Senior Research Fellowship. He is the author of more than 100 technical papers, an associate editor of the IEEE IAS Journal and executive member of the UK Magnetic Society Management committee.  


19:00     Registration and refreshments
19:30     Seminar starts
21:00     Seminar ends


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