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Electromagnetic Platform for lightweight Integration/Installation of electrical systems in Composite Electrical Aircraft

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EPICEA (Electromagnetic Platform for lightweight Integration/Installation of electrical systems in Composite Electrical Aircraft)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-07-31

The EPICEA (Electromagnetic Platform for lightweight Integration/Installation of electrical systems in Composite Electrical Aircraft) project intends to develop, validate and verify a computer environment (called the “EPICEA platform”) for evaluation of Electromagnetic (EM) hazards on Composite Electric Aircraft (CEA).
Energy performance, safety and limited emissions are a priority for aircraft manufacturers and their supply chains. Composite lightweight materials, electrification of functions on board aircraft and operations at higher altitudes/latitudes are parts of the fundamental levers for optimising the performance of existing and future generations of aircraft. However, such trends result in the exacerbation of EM hazards such as lightning and HIRF (High Intensity Radiated Fields) induced EM effects and exposure to Cosmic Radiations (CR). Specific protection measures are therefore required to protect electrical systems, leading to a weight penalty likely to make more difficult the emergence of the energy efficient CEA. EPICEA’s overall ambition is to make possible the development and the delivery of the CEA of the future (i.e. safe, energy-efficient and able to fly at higher altitude) by proposing a modelling environment able to design appropriate EM protection of electrical systems (i.e. more robust, lightweight, cost effective, safety compliant and easy to maintain).
The project addresses together the three following technical topics in the context of the development of future CEA prototypes:
- Modelling of EM coupling on Interconnected Systems (IS), (i.e. cable bundles)
- Modelling of new concepts of low profile antennas
- Evaluation of effects of CR on electronics (activity carried out by Canadian partners only)
EPICEA is an H2020 project co-funded by Europe and Canada started in February 2016 for 42 months. It has a budget of 3.4M€ and a consortium of 9 partners led by ONERA (OFFICE NATIONAL D’ETUDES ET DE RECHERCHES AEROSPATIALES) for Europe and ÉCOLE POLYTECHNIQUE DE MONTREAL for Canada. Other partners are ARTTIC SAS (France), AXESSIM (France), FOKKER ELMO B.V. (Netherlands), IDS INGEGNERIA DEI SISTEMI SPA (Italy), BOMBARDIER INC. (Canada), ECOLE DE TECHNOLOGIE SUPERIEURE (Canada), SOLUTIONS ISONÉO (Canada). Research and technical activity in EPICEA is organised in 5 technical Work Packages (WP) framed by a WP for dissemination and exploitation and a WP for the management of the project and the coordination of the Research, Innovation and Action (RIA). All through the project, Technology Maturity Assessment manages innovation, with the contribution of international experts (Advisory Board). Main results and innovation are disseminated through 2 public workshops (beginning of 2018 in Canada and beginning of 2019 in Europe).
Aircraft requirements, models to be developed, IS and antenna modelling scenarios as well as the computer modules in which the computer models and modelling scenarios have been identified and integrated in the EPICEA computer platform.
Specific material models ranging from isotropic to non-isotropic materials have been developed. They are intended to feed a specific new material modelling module in the EPICEA platform and can be shared by the various EM-coupling and antenna computer modules.
Specific modelling scenarios developed in the project concern:
- Field-to-Transmission-Line models integrating common mode impedance concepts for low frequency EM-coupling problems such as lightning indirect effects,
- Multidomain decomposition techniques to handle various scales of models required for antennas installed on aircraft structures.
The EPICEA platform is based on a general computer modelling environment, called CuToo developed by AXESSIM in several former projects, especially, the HIRF-SE FP7 EU project (2008-2013). The customisation of the EPICEA modelling platform and the integration of the EM coupling computer modules, the antenna computer modules and related modelling scenarios in the EPICEA computer platform have been achieved.
During the development phase, models and modelling scenarios have been evaluated on Numerical
Test Cases, i.e. test cases for which the geometry was entirely controlled. Cross-comparisons between results obtained on NTCs by different modules and modelling techniques were performed. NTCs have been then used as Integration Test Cases in the EPICEA platform.
New concepts of low profile antennas integrated on composite structures have been designed and manufactured. Simulation methodologies have been applied to simulate measurement tests in laboratory.
Practical evaluation of the EPICEA EM modelling methodology has been made on the EPICEA barrel mock-up, a scale one business aircraft composite barrel, including a prototype IS defined and manufactured within the project, applying real aircraft manufacturer rules. The EM test plan included several test configurations allowing evaluation of the models in a frequency band large enough to cover lightning and HIRF frequency spectrums (DC to 18 GHz).
In parallel to the EM modelling activity, the activity on CR consisted in laboratory tests carried out at the TRIUMPH laboratory and flight tests. The combination of collected data in laboratory and flight conditions provided information to assess CR effects on electronics on future CEA.
The specificity of the project relies in the context of massively composite structures.
For this, the project developed specific stand-alone models of composite materials dedicated to be integrated in already existing and widely validated computer modules, optimised in the project for this composite material concern. It also developed specific modelling methodologies (scenarios) combining the modelling modules to account for those composite material in 3D geometrical configurations for wiring and antennas. An original point of view w to deal at the same time with antenna and IS which implies a large frequency band of analysis based on the use of the same numerical tools in appropriate modelling scenarios. The subject of the effect of CRs on the electrical system is seen at the same level as EM effects on electrical systems which may prepare a global approach of the protection of electrical systems in the future.
One of the interests of the project is to offer experimental validations in laboratory on generic configurations (for antenna characterisation), on a real massively composite 3D structure (the EPICEA mock-up) equipped with state of the art IS and on real aircraft (for CR flight tests) which provides opportunities of evaluation of models and modelling methods in real conditions.
Finally, the EPICEA platform is a computer environment made of several modelling modules likely to be combined in dedicated modelling scenarios to be applied on IS and antennas installed into massively composite aircraft. It offers capabilities of cooperative modelling in large modelling projects such as CEA design or EM certification, for which several partners are involved with their own modelling methods and techniques but for which the exchange of data among partners is required in order to make possible those modelling scenarios. This cooperative approach helps selection and decision-making of the most suitable, safe and lightweight integration/installation solutions of electrical systems in CEA exposed to EM hazards (i.e. conventional EM and CR).
Flight test CR measurement architecture
Surface currents over the EPICEA barrel in coaxial return configuration (frequency=1 kHz)
The prototype IS over the current and signal return networks
The EPICEA barrel in coaxial return configuration
CAD model of the EPICEA barrel
The 3 prototype antennas mounted on the EPICEA barrel