BBTherm: A High-Fidelity Analysis Tool for Estimating the In-Vacuum Thermal Conductance Across Ball Bearings



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2023 International Conference on Environmental Systems


In this paper, we present BBTherm, a newly developed high-fidelity thermal analysis tool capable of characterizing the thermal behavior of arbitrary ball bearings operating at low speed and in vacuum. BBTherm includes advanced features such as automatic geometry generation, adaptive mesh refinement, as well as the ability to conduct parametric sensitivity studies to assist with the early phases of component- and system-level design. After describing the overall architecture of the tool, we demonstrate the core capabilities with two example trade studies that investigate the behavior of both unlubricated and lubricated bearings. In both cases, the predictions from BBTherm are then compared with a low-fidelity model from the literature. BBTherm represents a significant improvement over previous analysis capabilities and will be useful to thermal analysts in a variety of bearing-related design and analysis efforts going forward.


Christopher Bertagne, The Aerospace Corporation, USA
Christopher Ye, The Aerospace Corporation, USA
Natalie Walsh, The Aerospace Corporation, USA
John McHale, The Aerospace Corporation, USA
Yoshimi Takeuchi, The Aerospace Corporation, USA


bbtherm, bearing, conductance