Windings Fault Detection and Prognosis in Electro-Mechanical Flight Control Actuators Operating in Active-Active Configuration



Published Nov 16, 2020
Andrea De Martin Giovanni Jacazio George Vachtsevanos


One of the most significant research trends in the last decades of the aeronautic industry is the effort to move towards the design and the production of “more electric aircraft”. Within this framework, the application of the electrical technology to flight control systems has seen a progressive, although slow, increase: starting with the introduction of fly-by-wire and proceeding with the partial replacement of the traditional hydraulic/electro-hydraulic actuators with purely electro-mechanical ones. This evolution allowed to obtain more flexible solutions, reduced installation issues and enhanced aircraft control capability. Electro-Mechanical Actuators (EMAs) are however far from being a mature technology and still suffer from several safety issues, which can be partially limited by increasing the complexity of their design and hence their production costs. The development of a robust Prognostics and Health Management (PHM) system could provide a way to prevent the occurrence of a critical failure without resorting to complex device design. This paper deals with the first part of the study of a comprehensive PHM system for EMAs employed as primary flight control actuators; the peculiarities of the application are presented and discussed, while a novel approach, based on short pre-flight/post-flight health monitoring tests, is proposed. Turn-to-turn short in the electric motor windings is identified as the most common electrical degradation and a particle filtering framework for anomaly detection and prognosis featuring a self-tuning non-linear model is proposed. Features, anomaly detection and a prognostic algorithm are hence evaluated through state-of-the art performance metrics and their results discussed.

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flight control system, EMA, Anomaly Detection, Failure Prognosis, Particle Filtering

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