Innovative Passive Magnetic Thrust Bearings for High-Speed Turbomachinery

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-10-M-0282
Agency Tracking Number: N10A-037-0752
Amount: $99,992.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: N10A-T037
Solicitation Number: 2010.A
Small Business Information
200 Yellow Place, Pines Industrial Center, Rockledge, FL, 32955
DUNS: 175302579
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Thomas Lasko
 PI/Mechanical Engineer
 (321) 631-3550
 tlasko@mainstream-engr.com
Business Contact
 Michael Rizzo
Title: Controller
Phone: (321) 631-3550
Email: mar@mainstream-engr.com
Research Institution
 Florida Institue of Technology
 Razvan Rusovici
 150 WEST UNIVERSITY BLVD
MELBOURNE, FL, 32901
 (321) 674-7239
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
In miniature gas turbines for UAV applications, traditional bearings exhibit a typical lifetime of only 25 hours due to excessive axial loading. Mainstream proposes to use a passive, permanent magnet thrust bearing to alleviate this problem and increase service life to over 1000 hours. Since this type of bearing is non-contacting, it can operate at very high rotational speeds with minimal heat generation and extended operating life. Mainstream has already performed a preliminary design for this thrust bearing which is small, lightweight, and requires no power or active control. The bearing geometry has already been optimized for size and weight and our simulations have shown that the bearing achieves the required 200 N bidirectional force capacity while maintaining an axial tolerance of ± 0.1 mm and a size that is competitive with traditional bearings. The design also provides a mechanism for passive damping to mitigate vibrations in the axial direction. In addition, this novel geometry lends itself well to mass production and is flexible enough to easily allow scaling to different sizes and capacities. In Phase I, Mainstream and Florida Institute of Technology will design, fabricate, and test a prototype thrust bearing and prepare for Phase II integration and production.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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