Foil Gas Bearings for High Temperature Gas Turbine Engine

Period of Performance: 05/23/2012 - 01/23/2013


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

R&D Dynamics Corp.
15 Barber Pond Road
Bloomfield, CT 06002
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT: An oil-free bearing system can increase the reliability and decrease the cost and weight of high-speed cruise missile engines. Out of various oil-free systems the foil air bearing technology is the most suitable. Though foil air bearing technology is highly successful for lower temperature applications, they have not been demonstrated to meet the harsh conditions of high-speed gas turbine engines, which operate at high temperatures. In order to develop and demonstrate the foil air bearing technology for high speed cruise missile engines, R&D Dynamics has teamed with a turbine engine manufacturer. The hot end journal bearing will be designed and demonstrated in this program, with applications to thrust bearings in future programs. In Phase I a foil bearing concept will be designed for high temperature foil bearings. A bearing meeting the operational requirements of the engine will be designed, requiring a novel support structure and new materials to withstand the high temperatures. Bearings will be fabricated and tested on existing rigs at ambient conditions to demonstrate operation of the new design and materials. Materials will be demonstrated separately at engine operating temperatures. In Phase II, bearings will be demonstrated at full temperature in rigs and in an engine. BENEFIT: DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military Application - Supersonic propulsion systems and technologies are applicable toward various time-critical weapons systems and small strike/reconnaissance vehicles. Commercial Application - Enhancing higher temperature operation and/or reducing manufacturing and operating costs both apply to small uninhabited aircraft vehicles and uninhabited aircraft.