Mingrui Zhu with adviser A. Stillwell

Under extreme cold conditions, a de-icing or de-frosting method is needed to maintain the safe operation of electric aircraft. Therefore, a pulse de-icing method is proposed as an alternative to the traditional chemical method (by spraying defrosting fluid) because of its overall energy savings and environmental benefits.

We completed the analysis of the conventional de-icing method applied on electric aircraft and solar panels, with the focus primarily on the power rating (if applicable) and time performance. Moreover, due to the often complex configurations of the heating element and the input dc bus voltage, a topology compatible with wide input and output range is needed. In this research, a novel FCML (flying capacitor, multilevel) buck-boost converter is proposed. We achieved the designated power performance, as well as accomplished the fast ramp-up feature of pulse de-icing. As shown in Figure.1, the pulse-generating converter utilizes the energy delivered by the batteries and generates pulses to accomplish the de-icing task, which furthermore sustains the safe operation of the electric aircraft against extreme weather. For future work, the hardware layout and verifications of the actual performance will be explored. This research is supported by the Grainger Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics.

Figure 1 System-level overview of the design