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 ENG  Vol.9 No.11 , November 2017
The Evolution of Reliability and Efficiency of Aerospace Bearing Systems
Abstract: The worldwide air traffic underwent a rapid development in recent decades. Between the early 70s and the late 90s of the last century civil air traffic doubled every 15 years. The civil aviation market will continue to grow with 4% - 5% each year within the next 20 years. This enormous growth represents major challenges for airframers, engine makers, suppliers, airlines, air traffic management and ground infrastructure. In addition, the public debate on the worldwide civil air traffic is dominated by environmental and climate issues, even though only 2% of the man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are due to air transportation. Therefore the aerospace industry will have to focus on a low-emission and quite air traffic, and on the conservation of natural resources and our environment. The end-use consumer and environmental policy requirements for aircrafts of the next generation translate into components with improved efficiency and reliability. Rolling bearings are one of these components which significantly determine the reliability and mechanical efficiency of aerospace applications such as aircraft and rotorcraft engines and transmission systems. They have to withstand very demanding operating conditions. Especially main shaft bearings in modern aircraft engines experience high rotational speeds andtemperatures. Furthermore aerospace bearings have to meet the highest reliability standards and require low-weight design solutions. These operating conditions and requirements present a continuous challenge for improvements in all fields of bearing technology. This article presents solutions in aspects of materials, design, analysis, and surface technologies in order to meet the environmental, reliability, and economical requirements of advanced aerospace bearing systems. State of the art bearing analysis and advanced bearing design solutions contributing to lower friction power losses and increased systems efficiency are discussed. Weight, functional, and maintenance benefits are presented with the example of highly integrated aircraft engine main shaft bearings. It is also shown that the progress in bearing materials and surface technology development is the basis for weight and friction energy reduction in aerospace bearing systems.
Cite this paper: Gloeckner, P. and Rodway, C. (2017) The Evolution of Reliability and Efficiency of Aerospace Bearing Systems. Engineering, 9, 962-991. doi: 10.4236/eng.2017.911058.
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