A new high-frequency multilevel inverter effecting cables weight and energy efficiency of aircraft

Can E., Kılıç U.

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol.96, no.3, pp.458-464, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 96 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/aeat-06-2023-0158
  • Journal Name: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, ABI/INFORM, Aerospace Database, Compendex, INSPEC
  • Page Numbers: pp.458-464
  • Keywords: Aircraft, FMLI, FSPWM, Reduced switches, Skin effect, Weight of the cables
  • Erzincan Binali Yildirim University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: Static inverters are very important for the emergency energy distribution system of aircraft and similar machines. At the same time, the electrical energy produced at high frequency for electrical devices is used to reduce the weight of the cables in the aircraft and spacecraft because of the skin effect. In the high-frequency system, a thinner cable cross-section is used, and a great weight reduction occurs in the aircraft. So, fuel economy, less and late wear of the materials (landing gear, etc.) can be obtained with decreasing weight. This paper aims to present the development of a functional multilevel inverter (FMLI) with fractional sinus pulse width modulation (FSPWM) and a reduced number of switches to provide high-frequency and quality electrical energy conversion. Design/methodology/approach: After the production of FSPWM for FMLI with a reduced component, which, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, is presented for the first time in this study, is explained step by step, and eight operating states are given according to different FSPWMs operating the circuit. The designed inverter and modulation technique are compared by testing the conventional modular multilevel inverter on different loads. Findings: According to application results, it is seen that there is a 50% reduction in cross-section from 100 Hz to 400 Hz with the skin effect. At 1000 Hz, there is a 90% cross-section reduction. The decrease can be in cable weights that may occur in aircraft from 10 kg to 100 kg according to different frequencies. It causes less harmonic distortion than conventional converters. This supports the safer operation of the system. Compared to the traditional system, the proposed system provides more amplitude in converting the source to alternating voltage and increases the efficiency. Practical implications: FSPWM is developed for multilevel inverters with reduced components at the high frequency and cascaded switching studies in the power electronics of aircraft. Social implications: Although the proposed system has less current and power loss as mentioned in the previous sections, it contains fewer power elements than conventional inverters that are equivalent for different hardware levels. This not only reduces the cost of the system but also provides ease of maintenance. To reduce the cable load in aircraft and create more efficient working conditions, 400 Hz alternative voltage is used. The proposed system causes less losses and lower harmonic distortions than traditional systems. This will reduce possible malfunctions and contribute to aircraft reliability for passengers and cargo. As technology develops, it is revealed that the proposed inverter system will be more efficient than traditional inverters when devices operating at frequencies higher than 400 Hz are used. With the proposed inverter, safer operation will be ensured, while there will be less energy loss, less fuel consumption and less carbon emissions to the environment. Originality/value: The proposed inverter structure shows that it can provide energy transmission for electrical devices in space and aircraft by using the skin effect. It also contains less power elements than the traditional inverters, which are equivalent for different levels of hardware.