Hardware

Micro Turbine Developed at University of Maryland

Posted 29 Sep 2008 at 18:41 UTC by steve Share This

We've reported on micro and nano sized turbines in the past and today they look one step closer to reality. The University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering MEMS Sensors and Acturators Lab issued a press release detailing their latest work, including a microscale pump and turbogenerator. Researcher Reza Ghodssi said, "for the first time, we have achieved a level of miniaturization for machines like that achieved over the last decades in electronics". The tiny turbine achieves rotational speeds of 87,000 RPM, supported on micro-ball bearings so small they're almost invisible to the naked eye. The US Army, which is funding the research, hopes micro-turbines will replace the 20lbs of bulky lithium ion batteries now carried by soldiers. The tiny generators could also power micro air vehicles (MAV), small UAVs, and other pint-sized robots. UMD has also released video of the turbine in action (MPEG format). For all the technical stuff, see the paper, Design, Fabrication, and Characterization of a Rotary Micromotor Supported on Microball Bearings (PDF format).

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