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High-speed microfabricated silicon turbomachinery and fluid film bearings

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10 Author(s)
Frechette, L.G. ; Massachusetts Inst. of Technol., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Jacobson, S.A. ; Breuer, K.S. ; Ehrich, F.F.
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A single-crystal silicon micromachined air turbine supported on gas-lubricated bearings has been operated in a controlled and sustained manner at rotational speeds greater than 1 million revolutions per minute, with mechanical power levels approaching 5 W. The device is formed from a fusion bonded stack of five silicon wafers individually patterned on both sides using deep reactive ion etching (DRIE). It consists of a single stage radial inflow turbine on a 4.2-mm diameter rotor that is supported on externally pressurized hydrostatic journal and thrust bearings. This work presents the design, fabrication, and testing of the first microfabricated rotors to operate at circumferential tip speeds up to 300 m/s, on the order of conventional high performance turbomachinery. Successful operation of this device motivates the use of silicon micromachined high-speed rotating machinery for power microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) applications such as portable energy conversion, micropropulsion, and microfluidic pumping and cooling.

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 2005

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