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Flywheel TechnologyThroughout the summer of 2004, I am working on a number of different projects. While located in the Space Power and Propulsion Test Engineering branch, my main area of study is flywheel technology. I have been exposed to flywheels, their components, and their uses in today's society. I have been able to experience numerous flywheels here in the flywheel lab at NASA Glenn. My first main project was to explore the attributes and physical characteristics of a flywheel. Our branch was constructing a flywheel demonstration to be presented at the public open house taking place in June. Our Flywheel Interactive Demo, or FIDO, represents a real life multi-flywheel system here at NASA. I was given the opportunity to learn about how these flywheels store energy and are able to position a satellite. With all of this new knowledge, I was able to create the posters that explained how our demonstration worked. I also composed a step-by-step process made up of four experiments that any visitor could follow and perform on FIDO. By stepping through these experiments, the individual learns how a flywheel works. They not only read the explanation of what is happening, but they are also able to see it happen. Creating these two posters not only taught me, but also helped teach the general public during the open house, how flywheel technology is a very important part of our future. Through my research, I have learned that flywheels are able to store massive amounts of energy. They can be described as an electro-mechanical battery that stores kinetic energy while rotating. The faster it rotates, the more energy it stores. Their lifetime is about triple that of an ordinary battery. Flywheels also have the ability to combine energy storage with attitude control all in a single system. Attitude control is the ability to position a satellite as required. FIDO helps us to understand the rotational force (torque) that is applied upon a turn-table or satellite during wheel acceleration/deceleration. My other main project that I have just begun is to create a flywheel presentation, brochure, and video all explaining the history, applications, early attempts, and working processes of modem flywheels. These items are all usefull tools for educating school children and even adults about flywheels. This task will require a large amount of research and skills in the use of multiple applications. My goal this summer is to learn the dynamics and uses of a flywheel in today s society, and then inform and encourage the public about flywheels. I am able to express my knowledge by creating some effective as well as attractive posters, presentations, brochures, videos, etc. that are able to explain how a flywheel works along with how our FIDO demonstration simulates a real flywheel. My goal is underway, and should be successfully reached with the help of my mentor, other coworkers, and fellow interns.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Ritchie, Lisa M.
(Kent State Univ. OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Publication Information
Publication: Research Symposium I
Subject Category
Mechanical Engineering
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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