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Lightweight Innovative Generator for Future Air Transportation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LIFT (Lightweight Innovative Generator for Future Air Transportation )

Reporting period: 2018-11-01 to 2019-10-31

The aerospace industry made global commitments to take action that will see carbon neutral growth from 2020 and a net reduction in CO2 emissions of 50% by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. Hybrid-electric propulsion configurations or indeed fully-electric aircraft architectures are the next phase in achieving a step-change in emissions reduction and fuel efficiency improvements, and are often heralded as the dawn of the third phase in civil aviation history. The successful realization of such architectures is heavily dependent on achieving electrical machines with a power density which is an order of magnitude higher than the machines in existing production (over twice the power density of current series-production automotive machines for example). The aim of LIFT is to develop innovative, lightweight, multifunctional solutions for the inactive parts of a high power electrical machine to be used within future hybrid-electric aircraft architectures. The overall target machine power density (i.e. >10 kW/kg) is a step change from the current state of the art, and is targeted to be achieved through the optimized use of high-strength lightweight materials, coatings, and innovative thermal management. Importantly, through the demonstrated results and achievements within this project, the case for the next generation, cleaner hybrid-electric and electric aircraft will become increasingly stronger and help in accelerating the wider technology realization.
To bring it well within the limits of available 3D printing technology, the original MW-class specification shared by the topic manager was downscaled volumetrically by a ratio of 10:1, and a corresponding 300kW, 8kW/kg electrical machine has been designed using conventional materials for the inactive parts. To reduce the proportion of the non-active components (which is around 50% with conventional

materials), different lightweight materials have been investigated and various structures were evaluated as potential candidates for the heaviest passive components. Meanwhile, the manufacturing options for the prototype have been reviewed, including standard approaches and additive manufacturing approaches. The limits of the various manufacturing processes involved have been understood via the visits to companies, which are ensuring that the ongoing designs are realizable both in terms of overall size, as well as in terms of specific geometric features. Preliminary thermo-mechanical design of the inactive parts and electromagnetic optimization has been conducted, including the proposed novel thermal management topology. Samples of lightweighted geometries are currently being manufactured to conduct tension/torsion/bending/shear tests as per ASTM standards. For thermal testing of lightweight material samples, the in-house rig for measuring the thermal conductivity has been updated to accommodate the samples which will be used within the LIFT project. Currently setups are being designed to validate the thermal concepts and corresponding models.
LIFT is on track to deliver a beyond state of the art solution for lightweight non-active components scalable for a MW range electrical machine proposed within Clean Sky 2 Large Passenger Aircraft IADP work package 1.6.1. The expected results comprise a number of innovations based upon lightweight materials and structures for the non-active part of the electrical machine. Each of these innovations will have a route to exploitation on their own merits as part of developments that UNOTT is involved in through its usual research and innovation activities. The new knowledge will be applicable to a number of initiatives that UNOTT is already on to achieve fully electric propulsion technologies that are competitive to internal combustion engines. The project’s results will be disseminated through publications in peer reviewed international journals and leading international conferences/workshops focused on industry – university collaboration and exchange of information. Specific results by the end of the project include, the development of a machine with a record power density of >10kW/kg, 2 publications in top journals (IF>4), 2 conference publications and 2 patent submissions. Communication activities (open days, communication on university website, air-shows etc.) will raise the public’s awareness regarding the activities performed and the results achieved. The lightweighting of non-active components and achievement of ultra-high-machine power densities, could play a pivotal role in

securing worldwide industrial leadership for future , cleaner aircraft that will be powered using turboelectric propulsion, which is strategically important for the European aeronautics industry.
Lift technical contributions