Solar Plane Propulsion Motors With Precompressed Aluminum Stator Windings

James Widmer, Christopher M Spargo, Glynn J. Atkinson, Barrie C. Mecrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports a propulsion motor for a solar-powered aircraft. The motor uses precompressed aluminum stator windings, with a fill factor of greater than 75%, in a permanent magnet synchronous machine. The motor performance is compared empirically to an identical machine with conventionally wound copper windings. It is shown that there are many advantages to using compressed aluminum windings in terms of weight reduction, thermal improvement, and lower cost, for the same loss and electromagnetic performance, provided a sufficiently high slot fill factor can be achieved. The design and manufacture of the compressed coils is also discussed. A modular stator arrangement is used, in the form of a solid coreback with keyed teeth to allow easy assembly of the compressed windings. It is noted that the electromagnetic performance of the machine is unaffected by the modular nature of the magnetic core. Two prototype motors, one wound with conventional copper and the other with precompressed aluminum windings, are constructed and tested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681 - 688
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Energy Conversion
Issue number3
Early online date18 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes

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  • Aerospace
  • aluminum windings
  • compressed windings
  • electric motor
  • fill factor
  • high efficiency
  • solar plane


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