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Current leakage: Issues for Electric Aircraft and Vertiport Operations - ARSI Engineering Monograph 230_1001 (Excerpt)

Electric propelled aircraft have been operated for over twenty years with the solar powered fixed wing aircraft as the better known. Now there are over a dozen new electric aircraft developers, many with verticraft in flight testing.

The new field with many start-ups provides opportunities for innovation as well as technical challenges for burgeoning organizations. ARSI's latest Engineering Monograph describes the potential for damage to operating components and materials due to electrical current leakage. Mostly seen in the chemical process and space industries, electric current damage is a significant concern for integrators depending on the operation of electric motors.

Substantial damage to surfaces of bearings and structural components including fasteners is possible with both AC and DC current leakage. Key to the elimination of potential current damage to ferrous (Fe, Ni, Cr, Co) metal components is careful motor and battery stack installation. Grounding straps and grounding systems for any high-voltage applications is critical to safety and preventing damage to other systems. Further, these grounding systems are essential in protecting composite aircraft from lightning damage.


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ARSI has over twenty years of experience in developing and integrating
specialty sensors for health monitoring and testing of vehicle structures,
combustors and electronics.
The surface of a bolt grips (the smooth area) may present with an appearance similar to stress corrosion. However, the surface pitting will be from current leakage. See bearing surface in the image (left).

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Electrical Safety: Issues for Electric Aircraft and Vertiport Operations
ARSi Engineering Monograph 230_1001