NASA 1996 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER : 96-1 13.05-3800

PROJECT TITLE : : Gas Film Bearings for Reverse-Brayton Cryocoolers

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Self-acting gas bearings in miniature trubomachines provide exceptional reliability and eliminate vibration in space-borne reverse-Brayton cryocoolers. The ability to successfully manufacture these bearings with high precision has been a key factor in the success of our turbomachine-based cryocooler technology.

Nevertheless, the methods that are presently used to produce these bearings is labor intensive, requiring a high degree of manual skill. The result is a costly, time consuming process to achieve the required level of precision in each bearing set.

This project seeks to develop a novel, automatic method to manufacture the bore geometry of self-acting bearings. Our target is to achieve tolerances of better than 10 microinches in the circumferential variation of bore radius. The method is suited to automated and repeatable manufacture so that the cost of bearings would become a small portion of the total cost of a cryocooler.

In Phase I, we will experimentally demonstrate the new bearing manufacture technique using bench-top hardware. We will show feasibility by fabricating and measuring the relevant bearing geometry. During Phase II, we will fabricate a full-scale machine for the automatic manufacture of the bearings.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The proposed bearing fabrication technique will be used for the manufacture of cryocoolers used by NASA and the Department of Defense for spaceborne exploration and surveillance. The technique will significantly reduce the cost of cryocooler manufacture and will thereby promote their commercial application. These applications include communication satellites, cryopumping, magnetic resonance imaging systems cryosurgery, cryocooled computer systems, small-scale superconducting energy storage and ultra-high speed optoelectronic communication.
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
Thomas J. Jasinski
Creare Incorporated
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755
NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

Creare Incorporated
P.O. Box 71
Hanover, NH 03755