Students: Thomas Alley
Faculty Advisor or Community Project Lead: Jeff Hoffman, Rick Fontana, Jason Huckaby, Todd Petersen
Client Organization: Ocean Renewable Power Company
With the decreasing presence of fuel reserves and the increasing need for power in today’s world, the development of clean renewable energy has never been more important. Hydrokinetic power producing devices are one of the many sources of renewable energy that have shown the potential to help alleviate some of the world’s power needs. However, hydrokinetic power producing devices are still a very young technology that still needs further development in order to become economically feasible, environmentally friendly, and physically practical.
Hydrokinetic power producing devices are subjected to harsh conditions (such as high pressures, low temperatures, remote areas, and presence of high amounts of sediment) that pose as a challenge to current technology.
The bearing and shaft assembly is an integral part of hydrokinetic power producing devices. The strength of bearings under load on a shaft is an item of particular interest as wear due to abrasion can affect the efficiency of the entire system. Engineered polymers materials are becoming popular choice for such bearings as they can cost less, weigh less, and self-lubricate. It is important to investigate the abrasive characteristics and lifecycle of these polymer bearings in order to optimize efficiency.