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Advanced Reconfigurable Electrified Aircraft Lab (AREAL)


The Advanced Reconfigurable Electrified Aircraft Lab (AREAL) is a testbed at NASA’s Glenn Research Center supporting the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) project. AREAL is a 200-kilowatt (kW), 700-volt (V) testbed that utilizes direct current (DC) and motor emulators that can be adjusted to represent different configurations. Reconfigurability allows RVLT researchers to investigate different electric powertrain architectures, including both single-string and multi-string arrangements.

Image of the AREAL testbed at the NASA Glenn Research Center
The Advanced Reconfigurable Electrified Aircraft Lab (AREAL) motor drive stand with gauges for the cooling system. Credits: NASA, Bridget Caswell


AREAL is designed to meet the objectives of the RVLT project, which aims to enable vertical lift vehicles and sustainable transportation by providing best test practices, validated modeling and analysis tools, and data to inform related standards development. AREAL will provide capabilities for RVLT to improve electrified propulsion concepts and reliability.

AREAL will be used to investigate system interactions for architectures proposed for RVLT vehicle concepts under both nominal and faulted conditions. The emulators in the lab will allow for system studies either based solely on the emulators or through incorporating real motors and inverters as loads.

The testbed is capable of nominal 200 kW and 600-700 VDC operation for the majority of tests, but can support up to 1000 VDC peak, if desired. The testbed also provides the capability to investigate performance of novel motors and converters as they become available.

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