Ricardo has revealed a new testing environment it has developed as part of a research collaboration to come up with a BSI flywheel safety standard. The objective of the FlySafe project, which involves a range of industrial and academic partners, is to investigate the potential failure mechanisms and behaviors of high-speed flywheel systems. The test environment, which has now been completed, is believed to be the first and most advanced of its type in the world and is capable of testing flywheels spinning at up to 60,000 rev/min in a vacuum. In addition to providing for non-destructive testing, it incorporates advanced imaging and sensor technology to investigate the behavior of flywheels when they fail at high-speed.
Video is acquired with a high-speed system recording at 20,000 images per second, with the flywheel illuminated by a high-intensity pulsed laser synchronized to the camera. At this high frame rate the camera can record approximately just 2 seconds of video, so accurate synchronization of the recording with the failure event is critical. The University of Brighton in the UK has developed a custom data-acquisition system monitoring a number of sensors to enable this. These include accelerometers, strain, pressure, distance and temperature measurements within the flywheel enclosure and triggering of the camera on the occurrence of specific conditions which might be expected to lead to failure.
July 8, 2015