Lightweight, carbon composite cages for low heat generation bearings

An AFRL/PR team developed a compositecage for rolling element bearings. Thelightweight, carbon-carbon (C-C) and carbon-phenolic (C-Ph) composite cage enablesrolling element bearings to operate at a higherspeed with significantly less frictional heatgeneration than bearings fitted with traditionalsteel and cotton-based phenolic cages. Thistechnology has proven to be helpful in solvingcritical heat generation problems in advanceddemonstrator engines for cruise missileapplications.The partner of the AFRL/PR team in thistechnology transfer effort is Allcomp, Inc. Thearrangement took the forms of an exclusivepatent licensing agreement and a CRADA.Allcomp was responsible for manufacturingthe composite bearing cages; AFRL/PRhandled the cage/design specifications,conducted validation testing, and transitionedthe technology to military programs.Beneficiaries of the composite bearing cagetechnology include domestic bearingmanufacturers, as well as users of rotatingequipment and turbomachinery. Uses subjectto extreme operating conditions and poormarginal lubrication conditions will find thecomposite cages of great value. Specificexamples include aircraft and powergeneration gas turbine engines, automotiveturbochargers, machine tool spindles, medicalX-ray machines, and rotating devices insatellites.
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