Barber-Nichols Inc. (BNI) has been providing system integration support for custom turbomachinery since 1970. Barber-Nichols recognizes its custom blowers, circulators, compressors, fans, pumps, and turbines must interface and perform within a larger system. A typical project begins with a meeting to discuss the client's ideas, understand the overall system requirements, and learn how BNI's hardware will be incorporated into the system. Extensive expertise and experience then allows Barber-Nichols to develop practical solutions that will meet the client's overall goals. BNI's engineers' understanding of the complete system will help them ask the right questions and properly design hardware for the client's application. BNI employs state-of-the-art analysis and design tools coupled with decades of empirical test data to ensure that the hardware will support the client's system requirements.
Barber-Nichols designed and produced a supercritical hydrogen circulator for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Spallation Neutron Source (SNS). The SNS produces a high intensity, cold neutron beam used to investigate how materials are assembled at the subatomic level. The SNS utilizes a hydrogen loop system to cool the neutrons; it begins operation at room temperature and then cools down to 17 K (-429 °F). System integration was extremely important on this job because the hydrogen circulator must maintain proper pressure and flow across the wide temperature and hydrogen density range. Therefore, the circulator was designed to operate continuously between 15,000 and 60,000 rpm. This is achieved through the use of a variable frequency drive. Because high reliability and a long life were paramount on ORNL's list of requirements, BNI decided to utilize friction-free magnetic bearings rather than grease-packed ball bearings. Barber-Nichols teamed with Revolve Magnetic Bearings to design and produce the magnetic bearings and drive motor. BNI designed and produced the motor housing, motor shaft, pump impeller, and impeller housing. Barber-Nichols then assembled and tested five complete units before they were delivered to ORNL.
BNI and Northrop Grumman are working together on the U.S. Air Force's Upper Stage Engine Technology (USET) Program. The RL-10 is the only successful upper stage engine available in the United States today. The USET program is laying the groundwork and creating software for the development of a larger, more efficient, and more economical regenerative cycle, upper stage engine. Barber-Nichols' area of greatest expertise is the Turbopump Assembly (TPA). The TPA must be designed to work in perfect harmony with the Thrust Chamber Assembly (TCA), which in this case will result in a highly efficient engine capable of producing 40,000 pounds of thrust. A regenerative cycle engine is characterized by an array of exciting systematic challenges. Two turbopumps are used to deliver liquefied, cryogenic fuel and oxidizer to the combustion chamber. However, a portion of the fuel is vaporized and used to power the turbopumps. After exiting the turbopumps the vaporized fuel is also delivered to the combustion chamber. This complex configuration allows 100% of the launch vehicle's fuel to be utilized for thrust. A comprehensive understanding of the complete propulsion system allows BNI to develop a successful TPA.
BNI designed and produced Vapor Return Compressors for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) receiving terminals. The overall system is designed to transfer Boil-Off-Gas (BOG) from large storage tanks onshore to ships offshore while they are being offloaded. The BOG prevents both the collapse of the ship's tanks and the introduction of oxygen into the system. The compressors are piped in parallel and handle extremely high volumetric flow rates. Additionally, each compressor is installed on its own base plate and utilizes a high-speed, direct-drive electric motor, an oil lubrication system, a variable frequency drive, and associated piping and system controls. The advanced compressor control system is designed to adapt to a wide range of operating conditions by automatically varying speeds, adjusting surge control valves, and turning compressors on and off as flow rates change.
|Barber-Nichols Model BNCP-66-000 LNG Vapor Return Compressor
at Sempra Energy's Energía Costa Azul LNG Terminal
BNI has been designing and producing custom blowers, circulators, compressors, fans, pumps, and turbines since 1966. Experience taught us that a systems approach is the most effective way to design individual components.