Conceptual Multifunctional Design, Feasibility and Requirements for Structural Power in Aircraft Cabins
Journal article, 2021
This paper presents a theoretical investigation into the potential use of structural power composites in regional aircraft passenger cabins and the corresponding challenges to widespread use, including fire resistance, long-term cycling performance, and cost. This study focuses on adapting sandwich floor panels with structural power composite face sheets, designed to power the in-flight entertainment system. Using a simple mechanical model to define the structural requirements, based on state-of-the-art laminated structural power composites, a series of electrochemical energy storage performance targets were calculated: a specific energy >144 (W⋅h)/kg, a specific power >0.29 kW/kg, an in-plane elastic modulus >28 GPa, and in-plane tensile and compressive strengths >219 MPa. Significantly, the use of a distributed energy storage system offered a significant range of other mass and cost savings, associated with a simplified power system, and the use of ground-generated electrical energy. For an Airbus A220-100, the analysis predicted potential mass and volume savings of approximately 260 kg and 510 l and annual reductions in CO2 and NOx emissions of approximately 280 tonnes and 1.2 tonnes respectively. This extended design analysis of a specific component highlights both the far-reaching implications of implementing structural power materials and the potential extensive systemic benefits.