Electric airplanes?

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aerospace engineering, energy, industrials engineering, sustainability

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by Servei de Comunicació i Promoció
May 2010

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The UPC is researching how the motor that moves an airplane’s ailerons works. The goal is to create safer, cleaner airplanes: the airplanes of the future?

Miguel Delgado. Department of Electronic Engineering. Motion Control and Industrial Applications Group.

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When deciding whether or not to do a PhD, Miguel Delgado drew up a list of pros and cons. He saw pursuing a PhD as a means of having more time to learn, but he was also aware of the lack of professional stability it entailed. Looking back, he realises that at the time he did not take into account one factor that he now considers crucial: ‘contact with industry’.

He first began to work on the EU’s MOET project as a result of a collaboration grant he received when he was still a student. The project, led by the company Airbus, seeks to improve the internal architecture of airplanes in order to make them lighter, safer, more fuel-efficient and less polluting.

Within the framework of the project, which is overseen by researchers Juan Antonio Ortega and José Luis Romeral, the UPC is responsible for diagnosing how the motor that moves an airplane’s ailerons works. The new version of this motor, which has traditionally been based on a hydraulic system, will use an electromechanical system instead.