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RTX developing solid-state circuit breaker for hybrid-electric aircraft under NASA contract

RTX, the aerospace and defence company, today announced it has demonstrated the operation of a solid-state circuit breaker to support hybrid-electric propulsion systems in future aircraft, which the company describes as a key part of the aviation industry’s efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Much like a circuit breaker in a residential home, a circuit breaker on an aircraft helps protect the plane by removing power from the system when it senses an electric fault” according to the press release. “With future hybrid-electric propulsion systems slated to see increases in voltage and power compared to today’s aircraft, they will require new circuit breakers that can handle higher loads. RTX’s novel solid-state technology will enable its circuit breaker to handle five times the power of the largest circuit breaker flying today, with the ability to interrupt thousands of amps of current in less than 100 microseconds.

“The circuit breaker is being developed as part of a collaboration between the RTX Technology Research Center (RTRC), Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney under NASA’s Advanced Air Vehicles Program (AAVP).

“Having completed design, functional and altitude testing, RTX expects to further develop and refine the solution through system integration in Collins’ new electric power systems lab—The Grid—and flight demonstration in the coming years.”

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(Image: RTX)

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