Challenges and Advances in Electric Propulsion Motor Thermal Management for Aircraft

Zhaoxi Yao
F. Patrick McCluskey


 The global focus on reduction of CO2 emissions and sustainable development is driving the transition to hybrid and electric propulsion. While greater attention has been captured by land vehicles, the aviation community, including the U.S. Air Force, NASA and Boeing, has been conducting research on more electric aircraft (MEA), more electric engine (MEE) and electric propulsion for years. Some low-power, low-range fully electric aircraft with limited loading capacity have been developed already, dedicated to the flight training market, electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) or electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) short range transportation, and also serving as early steps towards larger scale developments.

Compared to traditional combustion engines, a major advantage for electric propulsion is the significantly higher efficiency, which can easily surpass 90%, while combustion engines can only reach about 60%. 

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