Optical Sensing of Partial Discharge in More Electric Aircraft

Jun Jiang, Kai Wang, Tony Chen, Ian Cotton, Jiawei Chen, Jie Chen, Chaohai Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aviation sector is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and there is a need to develop more-electric aircraft (MEA) that are operationally efficient. In traditional aircraft, the limited number of electrical systems operate at low voltage. The next generation of MEA will operate at voltages of above 1 kV to facilitate the transfer of significant levels of electrical power in an aircraft. However, the higher voltage and frequency levels will lead to an increased chance of partial discharge (PD) degradation in the insulation systems. Therefore, it is critical to have an accurate method of PD detection available for use in these new aircraft. Conventional PD detection methods are optimized for 50/60 Hz applications in the power industry and can be disturbed by harmonics generated via power electronic devices operating at high frequency. This paper explores a bespoke PD detection technique developed using a Sagnac optical fiber sensor capable of measuring the frequency-dependent PD information. Tests were conducted in the 50-1000 Hz range in which existing variable frequency AC power systems are being used in MEA. The results demonstrate that the increasing frequency will have an adverse effect on PD and must be considered in MEA design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Jun 2020


  • more electric aircraft
  • power system
  • partial discharge
  • optical sensing
  • high voltage


Dive into the research topics of 'Optical Sensing of Partial Discharge in More Electric Aircraft'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this