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Controlled Canfield Joint as Improved Gimbal for Flywheel Systems

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / STTR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Balcones Technologies, LLC
TX Austin, TX 78750-3851
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: Controlled Canfield Joint as Improved Gimbal for Flywheel Systems
Agency: NASA
Contract: NNX12CG13P
Award Amount: $124,773.00


Balcones Technologies, LLC proposes to adapt technologies developed by and resident in The University of Texas at Austin Center for Electromechanics (CEM) in the areas of dynamically controlled precision actuators and flywheel energy storage systems to address STTR 2011-1 Subtopic T3.01, Technologies for Space Power and Propulsion. In particular, our team will develop a concept design for a replacement to traditional flywheel gimbal systems that is based on a parallel kinematic structure proposed by Dr. Canfield in approximately 1997 as a carpal wrist joint, now commonly known as the Canfield Joint. The intended result will be a concept for an actively controlled Canfield-Joint Gimbal Replacement System (CGRS) that is considerably less expensive, simpler, and more reliable than current gimbal technology; does not require slip rings for power and control cables; does not have singularity issues, such as gimbal lock; and has relatively simple controls based on analytical kinematic solutions. Our proposed Phase I project will fully evaluate requirements, develop appropriate simulations of the kinematics and control system for a flywheel with magnetic bearings in the CGRS, develop a concept design of the CGRS, develop a commercialization and production plan, and develop a Phase II program plan to demonstrate the system with an existing high-speed flywheel system on magnetic bearings.

Principal Investigator:

Joseph H. Beno
Principal Investigator

Business Contact:

Joseph H. Beno
Small Business Information at Submission:

Balcones Technologies, LLC
TX Austin, TX 78750-3851

EIN/Tax ID: 260679384
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Research Institution Information:
University of Texas - Center for Electromechanics
P.O. Box 7726
Austin, TX 78713-7726
Contact: Courtney Frazier Swaney