Turboelectric distributed propulsion protection system design trades

C. Ross, M. Armstrong, M. Blackwelder, C. Jones, P. Norman, S. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
152 Downloads (Pure)


The NASA N3-X blended-wing body with turboelectric distributed propulsion concept is being studied to achieve N+3 goals such as reduced noise, emissions, and improved energy efficiency. The electrical distribution system is cryogenic in order to maximize its efficiency and increase the power density of all associated components, while the motors, generators, and transmission lines are superconducting. The protection of a superconducting DC network poses unique electrical and thermal challenges due to the low impedance of the superconductor and operation in the superconducting or quenched states. For a given TeDP electrical system architecture with fixed power ratings, conventional and solid-state circuit breakers combined with superconducting fault-current limiters are examined with both voltage and current source control to limit and interrupt the fault current. To estimate the protection system weight and losses, scalable models of cryogenic bidirectional current-source converters, cryogenic bidirectional IGBT solid-state circuit breakers, and resistive-type superconducting fault current limiters are developed to assess how the weight and losses of these components vary as a function of nominal voltage and current and fault current ratings. The scalable models are used to assess the protection system weight for several trade-offs. System studies include the trade-off in fault-current limiting capability of SFCL on CB mass, alongside the fault-current limiting capability of the converter and its impact on CB fault-current interruption ratings and weight.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2014
EventSAE ASTC - Ohio, Cincinnati, United States
Duration: 23 Sep 201425 Sep 2014


ConferenceSAE ASTC
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • turboelectric distributed propulsion (TeDP)
  • superconducting
  • electrical Systems


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