Non-Metallic Bearings (PDC Bearings)

Period of Performance: 05/15/2000 - 11/15/2000


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Foster-miller, Inc.
350 Second Ave.
Waltham, MA 02451
Principal Investigator


The Navy currently uses bearings that are required to operate in a variety of environments simultaneously including: dry; in a submerged marine environment; under significant physical loads; at great depths; and under ambient temperatures ranging from 30 to 125ºF. These bearings are used in many different types of rotating machinery, many with large diameter shafts and great loads (2 to 3 tons per shaft). Bearings used in these applications have several drawbacks. The bearings require lubrication and have been known to crack under load, which must be maintained even at great depths. Inspecting and re-lubricating these bearings is very expensive. A bearing that will meet the requirements of no lubrication, low friction, and high strength while maintaining low cost and the ability to operate in all environments mentioned above would improve the existing implementations and allow for expanded application. A Polycrystalline Diamond Compact (PDC) bearing will meet these requirements. PDC bearings have proven to be cost effective in the oil field industry.A Phase I program is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of applying PDC Bearing technology to Navy bearing needs. The program will result in a bearing design that can be retrofitted to a Navy bearing application. (p00479) Developing PDC bearings for the Navy use will increase the reliability the systems that are presently compromised by high maintenance requirements brought about by inaccessibility or sever environmental conditions. Presently PDC bearings have use in the oil field industry. The application can be leveraged into other industries where high loads, inaccessibility and environmental conditions combine for form prohibitive maintenance requirements.