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Design Guide for Bearings Used in Cryogenic Turbopumps and Test RigsCryogenic bearings are a unique and specialized area of the overall group of bearings that are used every day in industrial and aerospace applications. Cryogenic bearings operate in a unique environment that is not experienced by most bearing applications. The high speeds of turbomachinery, flow of cryogenic coolants, use of nonstandard materials, and lack of lubrication place unique demands on cryogenic bearings that must be met for the safety and success of the mission. To meet the goals of safety and success, requirements are put on the designer, manufacturer, and user that are not normally applied to off-the-shelf bearings. The designer has to have knowledge of the operating conditions, rotational speeds, loads, stresses, installation methods, inspection criteria, dimensional requirements, and design and analytical tools. The manufacturer needs to be aware of the materials used for cryogenic bearings, special heat treatments required, cleanliness of the processes, and inspection techniques to ensure a good product. The user needs to be aware of the safe handling practices to eliminate corrosion and debris, correct installation and removal procedures, pre- and post-test inspections, and the documentation that follow the bearings. This guide is based on the experiences of engineers at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) that have been involved in bearing research and testing along with specific bearing references that have been written. It is not meant to be a bearing design textbook for cryogenic bearing applications. These are available from many authors. Its purpose is to help the designer, manufacturer, or user in the application of cryogenic bearings to better understand the requirements placed on these bearings.

Document ID
Document Type
Technical Publication (TP)
Gibson, H. G.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
January 3, 2020
Publication Date
December 1, 2019
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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