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- The NASA Lewis Research Center is capitalizing on breakthroughs in foil air bearing performance, tribological coatings, and computer analyses to formulate the Oil-free Turbomachinery Program. The program s long-term goal is to develop an innovative, yet practical, oil-free aeropropulsion gas turbine engine that floats on advanced air bearings. This type of engine would operate at higher speeds and temperatures with lower weight and friction than conventional oil-lubricated engines. During startup and shutdown, solid lubricant coatings are required to prevent wear in such engines before the self-generating air-lubrication film develops. NASA s Tribology Branch has created PS304, a chrome-oxide-based plasma spray coating specifically tailored for shafts run against foil bearings. PS304 contains silver and barium fluoride/calcium fluoride eutectic (BaF2/CaF2) lubricant additives that, together, provide lubrication from cold start temperatures to over 650 C, the maximum use temperature for foil bearings. Recent lab tests show that bearings lubricated with PS304 survive over 100 000 start-stop cycles without experiencing any degradation in performance due to wear. The accompanying photograph shows a test bearing after it was run at 650 C. The rubbing process created a "polished" surface that enhances bearing load capacity.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20050187007.
Research and Technology 1998; NASA/TM-1999-208815.
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