Development Progress of a Long Life Twin Piston Pressure Oscillator
A development program of cryocoolers for space applications is currently in progress at the French Atomic Commission (CEA).
The main feature of these cryocoolers is the use of hydrodynamic gas bearings working at low rotational speed (a few Hz). Sliding friction for bearing or sealing is thus avoided and we expect a mean time between failure over 5 to 10 years.
Using this technique a simplified single piston oscillator has been built for the validation of the technical concepts and the characterisation of the components. Results on the hydrodynamic gas bearing, linear drive motor, resonance and compression ratio of this oscillator are reported.
A twin piston pressure oscillator for a Stirling cryocooler has then been designed, manufactured and is currently being tested. In this oscillator, each piston is sustented by a single gas bearing, kept in rotation by a brushless motor and axially actuated by a linear motor.
This paper reports on the status of these developments.
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