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Applicability of All-Electric Aircraft for Commercial Aviation and the Role of Structural Energy Storage Devices

Event Type
Department of Aerospace Engineering
CIF 2039
Apr 25, 2024   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Mohammad Naraghi, Associate Professor and Associate Department Head for Academics, Aerospace Engineering, Texas A&M
Courtney McLearin
Originating Calendar
Department of Aerospace Engineering Events

Electric powered airplanes, trains, boats and automobiles may offer sustainable means of transportation with minimal environmental impact. Imagine an All-Electric Aircraft (AEA) that is charged at the origin airport that is connected to a nearly fully-renewable energy source, and flies to the destination on electricity. Such flights will have zero in-flight emissions. This talk will address this problem in three steps: First, based on the current state of batteries and their projected growth, the talk will assess the range of All-Electric Airplanes (AEA). We will establish that at the current stage of development, moving towards fully electric systems is a nearly impossible, mainly due to poor energy density of energy storage systems, batteries and super-capacitors, in comparison to fossil fuels. Second, a remedy is evaluated by unifying functionalities and developing novel structural material systems (load bearing) that can serve as electrical energy storage devices, i.e., structural energy storage materials and systems (SED). The research in PI’s and his collaborators’ labs will be presented, and the trade-offs between energy storage and load bearing in a highly versatile material system composed of porous carbon nanofiber (CNF) electrodes will be discussed. This part includes discussion on microstructure similarities between aerospace composites and all-solid-state energy storage devices. Third, the recent findings of the PI’s group and his collaborators on vulnerability of SEDs to temperature changes will be presented in light of sever temperature changes an airplane will experience on the runway and at cruise altitude. High fidelity models will be presented in which the effect of environmental temperature change on multifunctional efficiencies of SEDs is assessed. The work will reveal a self-regulating behavior in SEDs which enhances their multifunctional efficiency by reducing heat losses. The presentation will conclude by considering the future directions in SEDs and their different tiers. 

About the speaker: Dr. Mohammad Naraghi received his PhD degree in 2009 from the University Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Department of Aerospace engineering. His PhD research was in the field of nanomechanics and the application of MEMS sensors and actuators to investigate the mechanical behavior of soft nanofibers. His PhD thesis received the “Roger A. Strehlow Memorial Award”, for outstanding research accomplishmentsThe award is presented annually by the Aerospace engineering department at UIUC to one graduate student in recognition of his/her outstanding research accomplishment. Next, Dr. Naraghi worked as a post-doctorate research fellow at Northwestern University. In 2012, Dr. Naraghi started working as an assistant professor (tenure-track position) in Texas A and M university, department of Aerospace engineering, where he was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 2018. He is also affiliated with the department of Materials Science and Engineering. He is the director of the Nanostructured Materials lab. Dr. Naraghi’s main field of expertise is high performance light-weight nanocomposites, nanomechanics, multifunctional nanomaterials, and application of MEMS to nanomechanics. Naraghi is the recipient of several academic and scientific awards including the Sandia National lab award in “Characterization, Reliability and Nanoscale Phenomena” in MEMS. He has received the AFOSR young investigator award in 2015, and he was selected as a Faculty fellow of Air Force Research Lab in Summer of 2020. He is also the recipient of the Texas A&M Engineering Station Faculty fellow award for the academic year 2022-2023. His research is funded by several agencies, including Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Office of Naval Research, National Science Foundation, Army Research Lab, Air Force Research Lab and Qatar National Research Funds, as well as private sector.

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