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Dynamic Bellows for a Pulse Tube Cryocooler ApplicationElectrified aircraft propulsion systems will require powertrain components that are both lightweight and highly efficient. NASA’s 1.4 MW High Efficiency Megawatt Motor (HEMM) has been designed to run at 6800 RPM with >98% efficiency and 16 kW/kg, achieving low losses by incorporating a cryocooler within its rotor shaft to cool superconducting DC windings. A pulse-tube cryocooler typically contains an oscillating piston that drives acoustic waves; however, leakage around the piston reduces the efficiency of the cryocooler. A metal bellows was designed to replace the piston to allow for little to no leakage. The requirements for this bellows were extreme in terms of displacement amplitude, oscillating pressure amplitude, temperature, and frequency. It was determined that an off-the-shelf edge-welded bellows would not work for this application, so a custom bellows was designed to include full convolutions welded only on their outer diameters where the stress is lower. Several high-fatigue-strength materials were considered, including 17-4PH H900 and Aermet 100. The final bellows design includes 74 convolutions with a variable inner diameter that helps distribute and reduce the dynamic stress throughout the length rather than concentrating the high stress in one location. To test the concept, a short 10-convolution bellows with constant inner diameter was designed for testing. One short bellows test article was fabricated with the outer diameter weld, and one by 3D printing. Both will be fatigue-tested with the goal of achieving 10^7 cycles.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Glenn Research Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Kirsten P Duffy
(University of Toledo Toledo, Ohio, United States)
Gerald M Szpak
(HX5, LLC)
Date Acquired
November 18, 2021
Subject Category
Aircraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Scitech Forum
Location: Virtual
Country: US
Start Date: January 3, 2022
End Date: January 7, 2022
Sponsors: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
WBS: 081876.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
Single Expert
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