Sizing of superconducting cables for turbo-electric distributed propulsion aircraft using a particle swarm optimization approach

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Abstract

Superconducting electrical power systems are proposed to meet high specific power densities required for turbo-electric distributed propulsion aircraft. Superconducting materials have unique thermal and electrical requirements for maintaining the superconducting state, which is critical to their normal operation. Electrical system faults can lead to this state being lost for all network assets in the electrical fault path. The resulting temperature rise can prevent the superconducting state from being immediately resumed following fault clearance, requiring disconnection of nonfaulted equipment. Undersized cables experience a higher temperature rise under faulted conditions and disconnect from the system more readily. Oversized cables are heavier and more costly. Therefore, there is a need to optimize the cable size, preventing disconnection of equipment due to temperature rise following a fault while minimizing the weight and cost penalty. This article proposes a system parameter-driven methodology, using particle swarm optimization, to identify fault-tolerant cable designs, which deliver minimum through-life costs. This facilitates high-value, quantifiable design trade studies incorporating system parameters. Key observations drawn are that the choice between improving fault ride-through capability of a superconducting cable by increasing the amount of either superconducting material or conventional former material strongly depends on acceptable system operating temperature and voltage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4789-4798
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

Keywords

  • superconducting
  • electrical protection systems
  • particle swarm optimisation
  • aircraft electrical power systems
  • electrical propulsion aircraft

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