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Machines 2015, 3(3), 138-156; doi:10.3390/machines3030138

Performance of Magnetic-Superconductor Non-Contact Harmonic Drive for Cryogenic Space Applications

1
Departamento de Teoría de la Señal y Comunicaciones, Universidad de Alcalá, 28871 Alcalá de Henares, Spain
2
Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28911 Leganés, Spain
3
MAG SOAR SL, 28341, Valdemoro, Spain
4
CNR-SPIN institute, Genova 16151, Italy
5
BPE e.K., 90542 Eckental, Germany
6
LARM group, Università di Cassino e del Lazio Meridionale 03043 Cassino, Italy
7
CAN superconductors, 251 68 Kamenice, Czech Republic
8
SIM group, Faculdade de ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisbon, Portugal
9
Rolls-Royce Dahlewitz, Berlin 10117, Germany
10
Departamento de ingeniería de materiales, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 28911, Leganés, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Mba
Received: 30 May 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 1 July 2015
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Abstract

Harmonic drives are profusely used in aerospace mainly because of their compactness and large reduction ratio. However, their use in cryogenic environments is still a challenge. Lubrication and fatigue are non-trivial issues under these conditions. The objective of the Magnetic-Superconductor Cryogenic Non-contact Harmonic Drive (MAGDRIVE) project, funded by the EU Space FP7, is to design, build, and test a new concept of MAGDRIVE. Non-contact interactions among magnets, soft magnetic materials, and superconductors are efficiently used to provide a high reduction ratio gear that smoothly and naturally operates at cryogenic environments. The limiting elements of conventional harmonic drives (teeth, flexspline, and ball bearings) are substituted by contactless mechanical components (magnetic gear and superconducting magnetic bearings). The absence of contact between moving parts prevents wear, lubricants are no longer required, and the operational lifetime is greatly increased. This is the first mechanical reducer in mechanical engineering history without any contact between moving parts. In this paper, the test results of a −1:20 inverse reduction ratio MAGDRIVE prototype are reported. In these tests, successful operation at 40 K and 10−3 Pa was demonstrated for more than 1.5 million input cycles. A maximum torque of 3 N·m and an efficiency of 80% were demonstrated. The maximum tested input speed was 3000 rpm, six times the previous existing record for harmonic drives at cryogenic temperatures. View Full-Text
Keywords: Magdrive; Harmonic drive; Magnetic gear; Cryogenics; Space mechanism; Contactless device; Superconducting magnetic bearings Magdrive; Harmonic drive; Magnetic gear; Cryogenics; Space mechanism; Contactless device; Superconducting magnetic bearings
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Perez-Diaz, J.L.; Diez-Jimenez, E.; Valiente-Blanco, I.; Cristache, C.; Alvarez-Valenzuela, M.-A.; Sanchez-Garcia-Casarrubios, J.; Ferdeghini, C.; Canepa, F.; Hornig, W.; Carbone, G.; Plechacek, J.; Amorim, A.; Frederico, T.; Gordo, P.; Abreu, J.; Sanz, V.; Ruiz-Navas, E.-M.; Martinez-Rojas, J.-A. Performance of Magnetic-Superconductor Non-Contact Harmonic Drive for Cryogenic Space Applications. Machines 2015, 3, 138-156.

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