RESEARCH PAPERS: Gas Turbines: Aircraft

Integration of Magnetic Bearings in the Design of Advanced Gas Turbine Engines

[+] Author and Article Information
A. F. Storace, D. Sood

General Electric Aircraft Engines, General Electric Company, Cincinnati, OH 45215

J. P. Lyons, M. A. Preston

Corporate Research and Development, General Electric Company, Schenectady, NY 12301

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 117(4), 655-665 (Oct 01, 1995) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2815450 History: Received February 19, 1994; Online November 19, 2007


Active magnetic bearings provide revolutionary advantages for gas turbine engine rotor support. These advantages include tremendously improved vibration and stability characteristics, reduced power loss, improved reliability, fault tolerance, and greatly extended bearing service life. The marriage of these advantages with innovative structural network design and advanced materials utilization will permit major increases in thrust-to-weight performance and structural efficiency for future gas turbine engines. However, obtaining the maximum payoff requires two key ingredients. The first is the use of modern magnetic bearing technologies such as innovative digital control techniques, high-density power electronics, high-density magnetic actuators, fault-tolerant system architecture, and electronic (sensorless) position estimation. This paper describes these technologies and the test hardware currently in place for verifying the performance of advanced magnetic actuators, power electronics, and digital controls. The second key ingredient is to go beyond the simple replacement of rolling element bearings with magnetic bearings by incorporating magnetic bearings as an integral part of the overall engine design. This is analogous to the proper approach to designing with composites, whereby the designer tailors the geometry and load-carrying function of the structural system or component for the composite instead of simply substituting composites in a design originally intended for metal material. This paper describes methodologies for the design integration of magnetic bearings in gas turbine engines.

Copyright © 1995 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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