Browse Publications Technical Papers 2008-01-2870
2008-11-11

A Survey on Arc Fault Detection and Wire Fault Location for Aircraft Wiring Systems 2008-01-2870

This paper provides an overview of recent developments in the area of arc fault detection (AFD) and wire fault location for aircraft wiring systems. Arc faults have been identified as one of the greatest threats to human lives and properties, and the likely cause of several aircraft disasters. With the introduction of high voltage transmission in aircraft to reduce the wiring weight and to meet the increasing power demands, the probability of initiating and sustaining continuous arcs in modern aircraft have been increased. However, arc faults are hard to detect and wiring problems are difficult to locate in aircraft, due to their complex profiles, high impedance property, and pressure sensitive characteristic, etc. The difficulty in resolving this problem is also due to the fact that false alarms cannot be tolerated but missing alarms can be fatal, and arc faults are normally intermittent as a result of the in-flight vibration.
For arc fault detection, a great number of methods have been proposed, which can be categorized into mechanical and electrical methods; in general, features can be extracted from time domain, frequency domain, or time-frequency domain; and algorithms have been developed based on adaptive techniques, Kalman filter, fractal theory, neural networks, fuzzy logic reasoning, and expert systems to enhance arc fault detection. Regarding wire fault location, numerous techniques have been developed and practiced, including visual inspection, impedance measurement, pulse arrested spark discharge diagnostics, high voltage test, inert gas method, and various kinds of reflectometry. Each of these techniques is effective to a certain extent, but all of them come with drawbacks as well.
This paper is intended to provide a constructive summary of the present arc fault detection and wire fault location techniques, together with discussions on the current and future research and development opportunities and challenges in this field.

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