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Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

High Performance Electric Actuation System Thermal Management


Aerospace Systems Directorate, RQ/Aero Propulsion Systems

RO# Location
13.30.02.B7103 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337542


Name E-mail Phone
Leland, Quinn H. 937.255.3060


This topic focuses on research and development of aircraft High-Performance Electric Actuation System (HPEAS) technologies. Specific areas include thermal management (TM) of electromechanical actuators (EMA) and motor control electronics; novel design concepts of compact, lightweight, jam free, or fault tolerance EMAs; innovative electric power management of peak and regenerative power; prognostics and health management technologies; and modeling and simulation tools for HPEAS mission analysis and technology assessment. For TM, any solutions, liquid or air or other heat transport medium, active or passive, should be integrated with the actuation system as well as with the aircraft electric power system and air vehicle structure. For example, when implementing an air cooling solution, its heat sink requirement and electric power input should be in agreement with the aircraft’s flight envelope. The ultimate goal of this topic is an optimized HPEAS design fully integrated with thermal management solution and electric power system in an aircraft environment.

HPEAS is one of the three critical technologies being developed under AFRL/Aerospace Systems Directorate’s INVENT program. HPEAS offers considerable advantages over conventional hydraulic actuation system for air vehicles. Three technical challenges have to be addressed for a successful transition of EMA to aircraft flight critical control actuation: thermal management, fault tolerance, and peak and regenerative power management. EMA and its electronics operate under harsh environments, especially those for primary flight control and propulsion system controls for military fighter aircraft. Its environmental temperature ranges from -40o C to 125o C, its heat loads are highly transient and localized, making thermal management one of the critical challenges for HPEAS. The dynamic power level, both peak power draw and regenerative power, also poses a great challenge for the aircraft electric power system. Reliability or fault/jam tolerance has to be proven as good as conventional hydraulic actuation before its acceptance to primary flight control.


Thermal management; Electromechanical actuator; HPEAS; Electric actuator; EMA; Power electronics cooling; Motor cooling; Modeling and simulation; Aircraft actuation; Regenerative power;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants
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