A reliability method for the analysis of turboelectric distributed propulsion electrical network architectures

  • Jennifer Catherine Shaw

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


A set of goals for four successive generations of cleaner, more efficient subsonic aircraft has been published and championed by NASA; the radically different Turboelectric Distributed Propulsion (TeDP) aircraft was also proposed to meet the long term goals. Such a new aircraft design places a significant additional reliance on the electrical system, requiring architectures that meet specified thrust requirements at a minimum associated weight as well as providing the greatest performance against the proposed emissions targets. This thesis presents a method for evaluating the power and reliability profiles exhibited by a number of electrical propulsion network architectures specific to TeDP aircraft. The method is used to clearly determine the probability that each variation of the network will provide a given level of thrust. Each configuration may be compared in a visual manner, using a formulation developed as part of this thesis, showing the 'best' candidate solutions and establishing how each performs relative to the others in terms of both reliability afforded and thrust provided. A number of case studies are presented within this thesis to demonstrate how the developed method can be applied and secondly to test the effectiveness of bringing additional redundancy to the system and the extent to which the reliability is improved. Sensitivity studies are also undertaken to quantify the extent that component substitutions and alterations impact on network reliability.The overall goal is to establish the features of a TeDP network architecture that consistently exhibits the greatest thrust reliability profile.In conducting this research, the work of this thesis progresses the understanding of the TeDP concept with a particular focus on the NASA N3-X aircraft being used to validate the proposed method. Specifically the knowledge in the area of the concept reliability and predicted failure rates are addressed with recommendations being put forward on how each can be improved. These recommendations form a useful input to the general body of research that is working towards NASA's future long term goals for cleaner more efficient aircraft.
Date of Award9 Sep 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsRolls-Royce PLC, EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) & University of Strathclyde
SupervisorStuart Galloway (Supervisor) & Graeme Burt (Supervisor)

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