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Less cabling for all-electric aircraft

EU-funded scientists succeeded in simplifying aircraft electrical architecture by introducing technologies that reduce the length and mass of cables. The solutions offer aerospace cable suppliers the potential to decrease cable length by 36 km in an Airbus A380.

Industrial Technologies

Conventional aircraft rely on both hydraulic and pneumatic systems in addition to electrical ones for power. In addition to the noise generated, the volume and weight required results in increased fuel consumption that translates to increased emissions and costs. The EU-funded project TAUPE (Transmissions in aircraft on unique path wires) provided a fully optimised avionic architecture for power and data transmission. By testing the solution on system integration benches, TAUPE demonstrated the feasibility of transmitting power and data on unique path wires. TAUPE targeted technology readiness level 4. This entailed integrating components into test benches to demonstrate the components and breadboard are working together for specific reference applications. The project selected two applications representing the different transmission configurations: the cockpit display system and the cabin lighting system. Power line communication and power over data were the two complementary technologies implemented that supply power and data over the same cable. TAUPE delivered specifications for harness wiring and network equipment, and requirements for system qualification to allow easy and secure power and data transmission. The technologies are easy and inexpensive to install or retrofit, enable cost-effective maintenance and provide a significant weight reduction (approximately 350 kg less). TAUPE introduced innovative avionic architecture that mixes electrical and communication channels. The related specifications and requirements should allow easy, rapid and secure integration of on-board electrical systems. Beyond enabling the concept of all-electric aircraft and the integration of on-board electrical systems, TAUPE results should also enable the reduction of operating costs. The project estimates decrease in fuel consumption as much as 180 tonnes in the Airbus A320.

Keywords

All-electric aircraft, aerospace cable, avionic architecture, power, data transmission

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