Low-Cost Composite Ball and Roller Bearings
Small Business Information
9063 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX, 78733
AbstractLarge steel ball and roller bearings are currently employed on many Department of Defense (DoD) weapon systems, which are typically exposed to harsh weather environments. Consequently, many of these bearings fail due to corrosion and lack of maintenance. The DoD recognizes the need to replace these corrosion-prone metal bearings with corrosion-free composite bearings that meet or exceed the fundamental design requirements of their metal predecessors. Historically, polymer-based composite structures have not been employed for bearing applications due to low bearing strengths. However, advances in material sciences have produced new material systems that can address the need for high performance, corrosion-free, low maintenance bearings. Texas Research Institute Austin, Inc. (TRI/Austin) proposes to design and validate durable, high-strength composite bearings, which are appropriate for high-speed applications and can be manufactured using new or existing materials and processes. Several innovative bearing designs will be considered and evaluated against the design requirements. Design concepts will include polymer based composite material systems, ceramic materials, and hybrid material systems. TRI/Austin's composite technology can advance the DoD's goals by making bearings more corrosion resistant and durable, thus requiring less maintenance than current bearings. The ultimate benefit of achieving these goals is lower life cycle costs.
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