DC Arc Fault Detection Methods in MEA Distribution Systems 2018-01-1934
Direct current (DC) for primary power distribution is a promising solution that is being explored by aircraft system integrators for MEA applications to enable the paralleling of non-synchronized engine off-take generators, and to enable the reduction of energy conversion stages required to supply electronically actuated loads. However, a significant challenge in the use of DC systems is the reliable detection of arc faults. Arcing presents a significant fire risk to aircraft and their presence can result in critical system damage and potentially fatal conditions. Series arc faults in DC systems are particularly challenging to detect as the associated reduction in system current eliminates the use of conventional overcurrent and current differential methods for fault detection. This paper provides an overview of series arc faults in DC systems and presents both simulation and hardware results to illustrate key trends, characteristics and discriminating features. It also presents a comprehensive review of arc fault detection and diagnosis techniques that have been proposed for a wide range of aerospace and other applications. The paper concludes with a discussion on the unique challenges and opportunities for the application of both deterministic and probabilistic methods in MEA systems.