Palm-sized microturbomachinery have broad potential applications in micropower generation areas, such as air/fuel management systems for various fuel cells, propulsion engine for unmanned micro-air vehicles, power generation turbines for robots, small satellites, etc. This paper introduces design and manufacturing processes of mesoscale foil gas bearings applicable to the microturbomachinery and also presents its performances predicted from nonlinear orbit simulations. X-ray and ultraviolet lithography were explored as promising manufacturing tools of elastic foundations for the mesoscale foil gas bearings. Designed and manufactured mesoscale foil gas bearings have unique design features that precision-machined foil bearings cannot provide, such as easy control of mechanical properties of elastic foundations, a simple assembly process, and easy control of bearing preload through lithographic pattern. The manufactured bearing performance was predicted using a time-domain orbit simulation, and results are presented.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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