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Drive topologies for solar-powered aircraft

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Barrie Mecrow, John Bennett, Professor Alan Jack, Dr Dave Atkinson


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Solar-powered aircraft require electric drives for the main propulsion system. It is critical that these drives provide both very high efficiency and low mass. This paper discusses the relative merits of different machine topologies based upon maximizing efficiency, taking into account power-electronic losses, motor losses, mass, and size penalties. Laminated machines are usually limited in their efficiency at light load because of their iron losses. This paper shows how, by combining a high pole number with an ultralow loss lamination material, these machines can be more efficient than other more complex rrangements which have been adopted by others. A demonstrator machine has been built and predicted efficiencies have been validated by test. It has then been used to propel a solar plane to over 60 000 feet and extend the aircraft flight-endurance world record from 30 to 84 h. Copyright © 2010 IEEE.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mecrow BC, Bennett JW, Jack AG, Atkinson DJ, Freeman AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics

Year: 2010

Volume: 57

Issue: 1

Pages: 457-464

Print publication date: 01/01/2010

Date deposited: 09/12/2010

ISSN (print): 0278-0046

ISSN (electronic): 1557-9948

Publisher: IEEE


DOI: 10.1109/TIE.2009.2031190


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