Research Fellows Directory
Dr Alexis Lambourne
In the aerospace sector, there is an increasing drive moving away from hydraulic and pneumatic actuation to electrical solutions. Today’s motors & generators use a set of materials and manufacturing techniques that have remained relatively static for decades: a round copper wire, coated in varnish, coiled around a laminated soft-magnetic core. For specialist applications like aerospace, a higher power density can be envisaged if alternative materials and manufacturing technology are used. My research is interdisciplinary and sits at the interface between electrical machine design, materials engineering and manufacturing technology. I am pursuing new materials and manufacturing technology to enable the next generation of optimised, reliable, power dense electrical machines for the aerospace sector. For example 3D printing of copper using laser melting would allow the size and shape of motor coils to be tailored to the application, minimising losses and boosting reliability and motor efficiency. Another area of research is co-deposition, where a conductor and a dielectric (insulator) are deposited in a single operation from one machine. I am also investigating & supporting ongoing materials developments in soft magnetic materials may also improve machine efficiency and provide improved manufacturing opportunities. The aim is to achieve a step change in electrical machine efficiency using novel materials and new manufacturing technology. This could directly benefit the aerospace industry making more power dense, efficient & reliable electrical machines and hence more efficient aircraft.