An electrical system is the most essential and integral component of all aircraft designs. An aircraft electrical system is an independent network of components that generate, distribute, utilize, and store electrical energy. The complexity and capacity of the electrical system varies tremendously from single engine aircrafts to modern multi-engine aircrafts. However, the electrical system for both types of engines share the same basic components. Every aircraft electrical system has units that has the capability of generating electricity. Depending upon the type of aircraft, components such as generators or alternators are used to produce electricity. These are usually engine driven but can also be powered by an auxiliary power unit or by a Ram Air Turbine (RAT). Most aircraft are equipped with either a 28-volt- or a 14-volt direct current electrical system. Output power from the generators may be modified through rectifiers, transformers, or invertors to change the type of current and voltage levels; it can also be used without modification. The generator output can be used to charge the aircraft battery. Commonly used batteries in aircraft systems are usually lead-acid, nickel cadmium, or lithium-ion batteries. Lithium ion batteries are becoming popular because of their light weight. Multiple engines usually have more sophisticated electrical systems that have multiple voltage systems and has a combination of DC and AC buses to power various aircraft units. Primary power generation is normally AC with one, or more than one providing conversion to DC voltage to power the DC buses.
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The major driver for the aircraft electrical system market include the adoption of more electric aircraft systems in aircrafts instead of using hydraulics. Earlier hydraulics used to perform many functions such as to actuate and move landing gear, brakes, and flaps. In larger systems, hydraulics were also used for flight control, thrust reversers, spoilers and many other functions. However, hydraulics are bulky, increasing the overall weight of the aircraft. Thus, due to the adoption of more electric aircraft systems, many functions can be performed through the distributed electrical system of an aircraft, thereby reducing the weight of the aircrafts For instance Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 have implemented electric aircraft systems in their aircrafts. There are however some restraints such as fault in load or source switches that can interrupt entire systems and less reliability due to distribution and wiring which are some of the factors that could adversely affect the aircraft electrical systems market.