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Lectromec’s Top 5 Articles of 2016

Miscellaneous

At the end of each year, we look back at the most popular Lectromec articles. This year, Lectromec generated a wide range of content ranging from component testing to protecting fuel tanks. This range of topics was covered in more than published 30 articles, two whitepapers, and presentations on the results of multiple internal research efforts. Here are the top five articles of 2016.

1: High-Speed Footage of Wire Failure Near Fuel Line

This was the most popular article of 2016. And why not? This included wire failure, potential risk to other aircraft systems, and molten metal all captured at 300fps.

Aircraft wire harness arcing failure captured through UV filtered lens at 300fps. A significant amount of copper was transfered from the arcing wires to the fuel tube.
Aircraft wire harness arcing failure captured through UV filtered lens at 300fps. A significant amount of copper was transferred from the arcing wires to the fuel tube.

As with most fields, the more we learn about a particular topic, the better our understanding of its complexity and the finer details involved. Frequent readers of Lectromec’s articles will be familiar with our extensive research on the potential impact of wire failure and electrical arcing. In this article, we shared recent research conducted by Lectromec on an area that received little attention in the past.

2: Introduction to Aircraft Electrical Power Distribution Systems

This article, originally published in 2015, remains one of the most popular articles on Lectromec.com.

The trend in 2015 and still in 2016 has been toward the integration of more electrical components. There are several benefits of the modern design (particularly weight savings). However, as with any airplane design, no system can be fielded before it can be proven safe, reliable, and able to be maintained over the aircraft’s life. In this article, we provided an overview of aircraft power systems and necessary considerations when starting the design process (for a more in-depth discussion of MEA, you can read Lectromec’s Insights from Europe: The More Electrical Aircraft Conference article).

3: Use of Cables on Aircraft – Part 1

Electrical wire cables are an integral part of an aircraft’s Electrical Wire Interconnection System (EWIS). It would be difficult to imagine the design of an aircraft electrical system without the use of electrical cables. The use of cables in aircraft has simplified the formation of wire harnesses and installation of electrical components (think of the ease of installing one cable versus 15 individual wires on an existing platform).

This article is the first part of a three-part series discussing one of the aerospace industry specifications for cables. The series went through many of the necessary design choices for the selection of particular cables (Part 2 and Part 3).

Side Note: This story was also picked up by Wire and Cable Technology International magazine.

4: Standard Practice for Maintenance of Aircraft Electrical Wiring Systems

An industry as broad as the aerospace industry will have a variety of standards and recommended practices. The hope is that each standard brings something new either through a higher level of requirements or by providing better guidance to achieve a reliable aircraft. The ASTM Standard F2799 was written with the intention of being, “used for the maintenance and preventative maintenance of Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems (EWIS).” This article reviewed the ASTM standard and the knowledge contained can benefit those maintaining an aircraft’s EWIS.

5: Understanding Coaxial Cables

The development and use of coaxial cables have come a long way since their invention in 1880. Improvements in design and reliability have made it a frequent feature for aircraft data transmission applications. In the realm of aerospace, a common coaxial specification is the MIL-DTL-17 coaxial cable standard.

Representative breakdown of aerospace cable.
A cable is a complex system that requires significant attention to detail in design, manufacturing, and use. Are you using the right wire for your application?

There are several parts to the MIL-DTL-17 (currently at revision H) standard of which application engineers and EWIS designers should be aware. Certainly, the requirements of coaxial cables have evolved as the needs of airborne applications have changed (the military Assist website only have revisions dating back to 1983, and this is revision F). This article provided information on what the cables in this standard are, and characteristics that you should be aware of when selecting or maintaining these cables.

Coming in 2017

In 2017, we will continue to cover topics related to EWIS that, we hope, will help to make better designed platforms and more reliable. Feel free to contact us if there are topics you would like for us to cover or expand upon.

Michael Traskos

Michael Traskos

President, Lectromec

Michael has been involved in wire degradation and failure assessments for more than a decade. He has worked on dozens of projects assessing the reliability and qualification of EWIS components. In September 2014, Michael was appointed as an FAA DER with a delegated authority covering EWIS certification.