Last April 28th, in the second meeting with Electric Motors Talks, joint initiative of University of L’Aquila and of Coiltech to promote the exchange of know-how between specialists of Coil Winding and related ambits, Electric Motors for Aerospace applications played a protagonist role.
Experts from the academic and industrial world outlined in their speeches the state-of-the-art in the segment of electric motors in the specific world of aerospace applications.
The webinar will be chaired by Marco Villani, professor of Electric Machines Design and Electric Systems for Mobility at University of L’Aquila and technical director of Electric Motor Engineering review.
Prof. Marco Villani started with the statement that modern aircrafts are becoming more and more electric and then aerospace manufacturers’ focus on electric motors is growing. «The need of turning more massively to all related components also for aircrafts, at a sustainable cost, leads industries and universities to work to find increasingly innovative solutions, most of all in the electromechanical actuator ambit».
Moreno D’Andrea highlighted Electromechanical linear actuators with integrated electric motor for aerospace applications, as representative of Umbra Group company, which shares its technological know-how with customers, including software and electronics, to design, prototype, qualify and produce the best high-performance aerospace electromechanical linear actuators for critical applications. The integrated process is the result of ongoing investments in research and the deep commitment of a multidisciplinary team of technicians and engineers to developing customized solutions at competitive prices with short lead times.
During the event, the speaker D’Andrea presented electromechanical actuator components and actuator configurations, related applications, the electric motor design and the aileron surface.
SciMo, Science for Motion, was founded by a group of Ph.D. students from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology to offer electric motors with a power density far beyond the state-of-the-art. Furthermore, SciMo will offer services around electric motors like the electromagnetic design, mechanical calculations, CAD constructions as well as the manufacturing of prototype motors. The unique performance characteristics of motors are reached via our key technologies of copper fill factors above 70% using distributed windings and innovative cooling concepts, such as indirect cooling of the copper windings. No expensive materials used. SciMo High Performace Electric Motors have been built and used since 2013-year; a peak power density of more than 20 kW/kg and a continuous power density of 10 kW/kg have been reached. «There are 3 kinds of motors for aerospace applications. At first, Direct Drive for Horizontal propulsion; it is competitive without gearbox, the prop speed is 1000-3000 rpm, the power is higher than 1MW and torque level is 5-10 kNm. Besides, there is eVTOL, vertical/horizontal Propulsion, up to 200 rpm, a power of 5-100kW, a torque level of 50-100Nm: this solution for low power and high torque gearbox solutions offers best power to weight. Finally, there is High speed energy generator (direct coupling to gas turbine) with shaft speed of 35-70 krpm, power of 100 – 500kW, a torque level under 100Nm».
The Italian academic witness was by Giuseppe Fabri, researcher at University of L’Aquila who talked about high-reliability electric motor drive for helicopters tail rotor through research activities on designing, prototyping and testing of innovative electrical machines and drives for some applications like aerospace, automotive, domestic appliances, automation, electrical actuation and digital process control.
New business opportunities are connected with a new component electrification in aircraft and HC, new eVTOL vehicles for local transportation and electrical propulsion demonstrators. However, as great are the challenges and the opportunities for the coil-winding industry versus electric motors with extreme power density and high reliability and the enhancement of materials and manufacturing technologies.
Another University contribution came from England, via Prof. Christopher Gerada, from the University of Nottingham, who explained in detail the research project about electrical machines and winding technologies for aircraft applications.
The drive towards aircraft electrification is highly dependent on the performance and reliability of electrical machine drive systems. A review of the advancements of electrical machine constituent materials which are being applied in the aerospace sector is outlined followed by key advancements in electrical machine technologies. Case studies demonstrating advances in electrical machine technology will then be presented highlighting key performance indices achieved.
(by Lara Morandotti)