• Thomas Feehally

Student thesis: Phd


Modern 'more-electric' aircraft demand increased levels of electrical power as non-propulsive power systems are replaced with electrical equivalents. This electrical power is provided by electrical generators, driven via a mechanical transmission system, from a rotating spool in the gas turbine core. A wide range of electrical loads exist throughout the aircraft, which may be pulsating and high powered, and this electrical power demand is transferred though the generators to produce a torque load on the drivetrain. The mechanical components of the drivetrain are designed for minimum mass and so are susceptible to fatigue, therefore the electrical loading existing on modern airframes may induce fatigue in key mechanical components and excite system resonances in both mechanical and electrical domains. This electro-mechanical interaction could lead to a reduced lifespan for mechanical components and electrical network instability.This project investigates electro-mechanical interaction in the electrical power offtake from large diameter aero gas turbines. High fidelity modelling of the drivetrain, and generator, allow the prediction of system resonances for a generic gas turbine-generator system. A Doubly-Fed Induction Generator (DFIG) is considered and modelled. DFIGs offer opportunities due to their fast dynamics and their ability to decouple electrical and mechanical frequencies (e.g. enabling a constant frequency electrical system with a variable speed mechanical drive). A test platform is produced which is representative of a large diameter gas turbine and reproduces the electro-mechanical system behaviour. The test platform is scaled with respect to speed and power but maintains realistic sizing between component dimensions which include: a gas turbine mechanical spool emulation, transmission driveshafts and gearbox, and accessory loads such as a generator. This test platform is used to validate theoretical understanding and suggest alternative mechanical configurations, and generator control schemes, for the mitigation of electro-mechanical interaction.The novel use of a DFIG and an understanding of electro-mechanical interaction allow future aircraft designs to benefit from the increased electrification of systems by ensuring that sufficient electrical power can be provided by a robust gas turbine-generator system.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJudith Apsley (Supervisor)


  • more-electric aircraft
  • electro-mechanical interaction
  • generator
  • doubly fed induction generator
  • drivetrain dynamics
  • torsional oscillation

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