Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Develop a Magnetic Levitating Gear

01.12.2014

Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) are developing a new transmission mechanism with no touching parts, based on magnetic forces which prevent friction and wear and make lubrication unnecessary. It can be applied in space travel and exploration but has also been adapted for use in other areas, such as the railroad and aircraft industries.

This research is being carried out under the auspices of MAGDRIVE, a European research project coordinated by Professor José Luis Pérez Díaz, from the UC3M Instituto Pedro San Juan de Lastanosa, in which seven European entities participate.


Credit: UC3M

It consists of the development of a magnetic gear reducer, that is, a mechanism that transforms speed from an input axle to another in an output axle (as in a bicycle chain mechanism or the gearbox of an automobile). But in this case, unlike a conventional gear reducer, this transmission is produced without contact between the pieces thanks to the magnetism.

One of its chief advantages is the absence of wear among the pieces, which makes lubrication unnecessary. As such, “the operating life of these devices can be much longer than the life of a conventional gear reducer with teeth, and can even work in cryogenic temperatures,” notes one of the researchers, Efrén Díez Jiménez, from the UC3M Department of Mechanical Engineering.

It can even continue to function after an event of overload. If the axle is blocked, “the parts simply slide amongst themselves, but nothing breaks.” In addition, less noise is produced, vibration is reduced, and it is capable of through-wall transmission.

A Gearbox that Levitates

In addition to the contactless transmission, the axles are likewise contactless. “It is the first time in history that the input axle as well as the output axle of a gear reducer are floating without any kind of contact, and it can keep a mechanism which contains nothing else spinning at 3,000 revolutions per minute at cryogenic temperatures” says the main researcher on the project, José Luis Pérez Díaz.

Although the main goal of the MAGDRIVE project is to build a prototype that can be used in extreme conditions in outer space, another one that can be used at room temperature has also been developed.

For outer space, the cryogenic prototype has been developed. This type keeps the axles floating and it can work at a temperature of -210°C and in a vacuum. The mechanism integrates levitating superconductor bearings that generate stable forces of repulsion into its structure. This allows it to turn and, moreover, it stabilizes it against oscillating motion or possible imbalances. It is the first mechanism in history that does not have this type of friction.

It has several applications in outer space, “from robot arms or antenna positioners, where high-precision movements are needed or when contamination from lubricants is undesired, to vehicles that, because of temperature or extreme conditions of absence of pressure, shorten the life of conventional mechanisms, as happens with the wheels of a Rover that has to go on Mars.”

The second prototype that has been developed can be used at room temperature. The magnetic reducer “substitutes the gear teeth with permanent magnets that repel and attract each other” so that “the transmission of couples and forces between the moving parts with contact is achieved,” explains Efrén Díez Jiménez.

Its applications can be transferred to any field where conventional mechanical reducers are used, such as self-propulsion, the railroad sector, the oil industry, or in mechanics and manufacturing in general, cite the researchers. Thanks to the absence of lubrication and oils, it can also be applied in the pharmaceutical, biomedical and food industries, where cleanliness requirements of are very strict.

Although the cryogenic prototype was the global objective of the project because it solved the problem posed by the European Space Agency (ESA),”no doubt the room temperature prototype is the one that can have the biggest impact and industrial application,” they conclude.

The final results of the MAGDRIVE project have been presented at different conferences, congresses and meetings organized by ESA, NASA and ASME, generating a great deal of interest among participants. The researchers have published some of the results in the “Journal of Engineering Tribology”, among others. At present they are analyzing implementation of these types of systems in different industrial areas. And, the latest news: their research has been accepted for upcoming publication in the review “Aerospace Science and Technology”.


http://portal.uc3m.es/portal/page/portal/actualidad_cientifica/noticias/magdrive_levitating

Full bibliographic information

J. Perez-Diaz, E. Diez-Jimenez, and E. Al., “Performance of magnetic-superconductor non-contact harmonic drive for cryogenic space applications,” Aerosp. Sci. Technol., 2014.


MAGDRIVE is a European project from the Space area of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme coordinated by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, with the participation of the National Research Council of Genoa and the University of Cassino (both in Italy), the Foundation of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Lisbon, in Portugal, and three companies: BPE from Germany, LIDAX from Spain and CAN Superconductors from the Czech Republic. This research project is FP7/2007-2013 under agreement No. 263014. In addition, the spin-off company MAG SOAR has been created from this project.

Further information:

Project webpage: www.magdrive.eu

Ana María Herrera | AlphaGalileo

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>