Rolls Royce has e-plane plans for graphene Hall Effect sensors

Rolls Royce has e-plane plans for graphene Hall Effect sensors
Business news |
Electric motors for aerospace applications could be enabled by graphene-based Hall Effect sensors being developed by Cambridge startup.
By Peter Clarke


Rolls Royce, maker of aerospace power units, and Paragraf Ltd. (Somersham, England) are coming together in a project backed by UK Research and Innovation, the investment arm of UK government. Paragraf is a 2015 spin-off from Cambridge University that has developed a graphene-based Hall effect magnetic sensor with a number of beneficial features (see Redefining Hall-Effect sensors with graphene).

Paragraf has signed up with Rolls-Royce and TT Electronics, a maker of sensor modules and CSA Catapult, a government funded accelerator of compound semiconductor technology development will provide packaging expertise.

The project is named High-T Hall and is intended to demonstrate how graphene-based Hall Effect sensors can operate reliably at high temperatures, for applications such as electric engines in aerospace. It is also intended to foster the formation of a UK supply chain for such applications.

The amount of direct and indirect support the project is set to receive from the UK government were not revealed.

Project High-T Hall aims to demonstrate that graphene-based Hall Effect sensors will operate reliably up to 180 °C, and potentially even at temperatures of up to 230 °C allowing them to be mounted within the machine or power module enclosure thus enabling much greater flexibility in the design of silicon carbide power devices and higher performance more compact electrical machines.

“We are extremely proud to be part of this pioneering project that will hopefully lead to better efficiency in all-electric engines and help accelerate the adoption of e-planes and, more generally, electric vehicles,” said Ivor Guiney, co-founder of Paragraf, in a statement.

Next: More applications

Paragraf will design and manufacture custom Hall Effect sensors for integration into the systems of Rolls-Royce and TT Electronics. The CSA Catapult will provide their packaging expertise. Rolls-Royce and TT Electronics will test the sensors in aerospace power electronics and motor drive (PEMD) applications.

Rolls Royce will trial the technology in its upcoming gas turbine products. TT Electronics will use it to develop a range of modular current sensors for use in rugged aerospace electrical systems.

Although High-T Hall is aimed at aerospace applications success for graphene-based Hall Effect sensors would also indicate the sensors could be used in others sectors – such as automotive and industrial applications.

Project High-T Hall started in July 2020 and is now due to run for one year.

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