Robust Rotary Union for High Speed, High Power Density Rotating Electrical Machines

Period of Performance: 12/13/2011 - 12/13/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Beck Engineering
1490 Lumsden Road
Port Orchard, WA 98367
Principal Investigator


The Navy needs robust rotary unions for advanced high-speed liquid-cooled generators. Under an SBIR project for the Navy, we are developing a hydrostatic bearing/seal rotary union (HBSRU) to meet Navy needs. Hydrostatic bearings can operate at large radii with fast rotational speeds, so our HBSRU has room for large flow capabilities. The hydrostatic bearings offer the same advantages to our HBSRU that hydrostatic bearings offer to spindles of high-precision high-speed machine tools (including nano-precision diamond-turning lathes for optics): high-speed capability, long life, durable, reliable, large damping of shocks and vibrations, and dynamically stable. Proprietary designs give our HBSRU zero seal leakage. Our HBSRU uses materials that give our HBSRU graceful degradation to avoid catastrophic failures. In Phase I, we developed initial conceptual designs of our HBSRU and established performance goals and metrics to analyze the feasibility of our HBSRU. In Phase II, we will build, demonstrate, and test a prototype HBSRU. In Phase III, we will transition our HBSRU into generators for Navy systems and other systems in the government and private sector.