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CR8 - Next Generation More-Electric Aircraft: A Potential Application for HTS Superconductors

Next Generation More-Electric Aircraft:
A Potential Application for HTS Superconductors

Cesar A. Luongo, Senior Member, IEEE, Philippe J. Masson, Senior Member, IEEE, Taewoo Nam, Dimitri Mavris, Hyun D. Kim, Gerald V. Brown, Mark Waters, David Hall

Abstract—Sustainability in the aviation industry calls for aircraft that are significantly quieter and more fuel efficient than today’s fleet. Achieving this will require revolutionary new concepts, in particular, electric propulsion. Superconducting machines offer the only viable path to achieve the power densities needed in airborne applications. This paper outlines the main issues involved in using superconductors for aeropropulsion. We review the work done under a 5-year program to investigate the feasibility of superconducting electric propulsion, and to integrate, for the first time, the multiple disciplines and areas of expertise needed to design electric aircraft. It is shown that superconductivity is clearly the enabling technology for the more efficient turbo-electric aircraft of the future.

Index Terms— Aircraft, electric propulsion, superconducting motor

Manuscript received August 26, 2008.Reference No. CR8; Category 6.


This research supported by the NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Program and the Department of Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E) division under the URETI on Aeropropulsion and Power. Support also received from Florida State University’s Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS)
C. A. Luongo is with the Dept. Mechanical Engineering, Florida A&M-Florida State University College of Engineering, Tallahassee, FL, USA (e-mail: luongo@magnet.fsu.edu). Currently on sabbatical with ITER IO, CEA Cadarache, St. Paul-lez-Durance, France
P. J. Masson is with the Center for Advanced Power Systems, Tallahassee, FL, USA. Currently with the Advanced Magnet Lab, Palm Bay, FL, USA (e-mail: pmasson@magnetlab.com)
T. Nam and D. Mavris are with the Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, Dept. of Aeronautical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA (e-mail: taewoo.nam@asdl.gatech.edu
H. Kim and G. Brown are with NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland OH, USA (e-mail: Hyun.D.Kim@nasa.gov, Gerald.V.Brown@nasa.gov
M. Waters and D. Hall are with DHC Engineering, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA (e-mail: mwaters@asdl.gatech.edu)