Journal article Open Access

Partial Discharge Phenomena in Electrical Machines for the More Electrical Aircraft. Part II: Impact of Reduced Pressures and Wide Bandgap Devices

Luca Lusuardi; Alberto Rumi; Andrea Cavallini; Stefano Nuzzo; Davide Barater

This paper focuses on the inception of partial discharges within the insulation system of electrical actuators used for the More Electrical Aircraft (MEA). Since these machines should operate in the absence of Partial Discharges (PDs), the dependence of the PD Inception Voltage (PDIV) on voltage impulses typical of wide bandgap (SiC) devices is investigated at both 1 bar, reduced pressures close to those typical of aircraft cruising altitudes (150 mbar – 200 mbar) or lower (down to 5 mbar). Propagation issues are not dealt with here as results were obtained working on insulation models consisting of couples of wires twisted together (twisted pairs), thus knowing exactly the potential differences between all points of the insulation model. The results show that the rise times and the switching frequencies associated with wide bandgap devices have little impact on the PDIV. A model able to predict the PDIV of the turn/turn insulation of random wound motors (the most vulnerable part of the insulation) at different pressures is proposed. The model is also able to deal with temperature changes, with limitations that depend on the type on insulation systems.

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