Design of an aircraft generator with radial force control

Christian Brecher, Stephan Neus, Marcus Gärtner, Hans Martin Eckel, Maik Hoppert, Barry James, Chris Gerada, Michele Degano, Mohammad Reza Ilkhani, Mauro Di Nardo

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


With the increasing electrical energy demands in aviation propulsion systems, the increase in the onboard generators’ power density is inevitable. During the flight, forces coming from the gearbox or gyroscopic forces generated by flight manoeuvres like take-off and landing can act on the generators’ bearings, which can lead to wear and fatigue in the bearings. Utilizing the radial force control concept in the electrical machine can relieve loads from the bearings that not only minimize the bearing losses but also increase bearing life. The objective of the MAGLEV project (Measurement and Analysis of Generator bearing Loads and Efficiency with Validation) is to study, demonstrate, and test a new class of high-speed generators with radial force control. In this paper, design steps of this type of generator and its test rig are presented and the measurement methodology used for radial force control is explained. The concept is developed in an electrical machine and is validated on a test rig by measuring required parameters like shaft displacement, vibrations and bearing temperature. Additionally, the friction moment of each generator’s bearings is measured and validated in a separate test rig under comparable conditions to the bearing loads in the generator. Therefore, a novel approach to determine precisely the bearing friction in a radial load unit, rotatably supported by an additional needle bearing is used, which shows a good agreement with the calculated friction. Furthermore, new calculation methods for the operating behavior of cylindrical roller bearings with clearance are presented, which are utilized in the generator test rig.

Original languageEnglish
Article number73
JournalOpen Research Europe
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Aircraft generator
  • bearing friction
  • bearing loads
  • efficiency
  • radial force control
  • shaft-bearing system
  • test rig
  • validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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