RESEARCH PAPERS: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

Fault Tolerant Magnetic Bearings

[+] Author and Article Information
E. H. Maslen, C. K. Sortore, G. T. Gillies

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering, University of Virginia, Thornton Hall, McCormick Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903

R. D. Williams, S. J. Fedigan

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903

R. J. Aimone

Mobile Technology Company, Paulsboro, NJ 08066

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 121(3), 504-508 (Jul 01, 1999) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2818501 History: Received March 12, 1998; Revised March 23, 1999; Online December 03, 2007


A fault tolerant magnetic bearing system was developed and demonstrated on a large flexible-rotor test rig. The bearing system comprises a high speed, fault tolerant digital controller, three high capacity radial magnetic bearings, one thrust bearing, conventional variable reluctance position sensors, and an array of commercial switching amplifiers. Controller fault tolerance is achieved through a very high speed voting mechanism which implements triple modular redundancy with a powered spare CPU, thereby permitting failure of up to three CPU modules without system failure. Amplifier/cabling/coil fault tolerance is achieved by using a separate power amplifier for each bearing coil and permitting amplifier reconfiguration by the controller upon detection of faults. This allows hot replacement of failed amplifiers without any system degradation and without providing any excess amplifier kVA capacity over the nominal system requirement. Implemented on a large (2440 mm in length) flexible rotor, the system shows excellent rejection of faults including the failure of three CPUs as well as failure of two adjacent amplifiers (or cabling) controlling an entire stator quadrant.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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