1998-04-21

Design, Fabrication, and Testing of 10 MJ Composite Flywheel Energy Storage Rotors 981282

Flywheel energy storage systems employing high speed composite flywheels and advanced electric motor/generators are being evaluated by the Department of Defense (DoD), NASA [1], and firms [2,3] to replace electrochemical battery banks in satellites and manned space applications. Flywheel energy storage systems can provide extended operating life and significant reduction in weight and volume compared to conventional electrochemical systems. In addition, flywheels can provide momentum or reaction wheel functions for attitude control.
This paper describes the design, fabrication, and spin testing of two 10 MJ composite flywheel energy storage rotors. To achieve the demonstrated energy density of greater than 310 kJ/kg in a volume of less than 0.05 m3, the rotors utilize flexible composite arbors to connect a composite rim to a metallic shaft, resulting in compact, lightweight, high energy density structures.
The paper also describes the finite element stress and rotordynamics analyses, along with a description of the fabrication and assembly techniques used in the construction of the rotor. A description of the experimental setup and a discussion of spin testing of the rotors up to 45,000 rpm (965 m/s tip speed) are also presented. Accurate measurements of rotor centrifugal growth made with laser triangulation sensors confirmed predicted strains of greater than 1.2% in the composite rim.
Due to the weight penalty associated with flywheel designs requiring containment structures, there is a strong need to develop flywheel systems which operate safely in space, preferably without dedicated containment structures. A future paper will describe results of a 28,600 rpm composite rotor burst test performed in a containment structure as a step towards understanding composite rotor failure modes.

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