Calnetix Technologies to Present Paper on Magnetic Bearing Blower at ASME Turbo Expo Virtual Conference

September 10th, 2020

CERRITOS, Calif. – September 10, 2020 – Larry Hawkins, a co-founder of Calnetix Technologies and Director of Technology for Magnetic Bearings, will present a paper titled “Design of a Compact Magnetically Levitated Blower for Space Applications” at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbomachinery Virtual Technical Conference and Exposition on September 23.

The paper is co-authored by Calnetix’s Principal Research Engineer Alexei Filatov, Calnetix’s Manager of Rotordynamics and AMB Controls Rasish Khatri and NASA Glenn Research Center’s Senior Technologist Chris DellaCorte and Senior Research Engineer Samuel. A. Howard.

The paper describes the design considerations and design selections for the Momentum™ In-line Blower with a focus on the magnetic bearings. Magnetic bearings were used in lieu of more conventional bearings due to low power consumption, low transmitted vibration, oil-free operation and tolerance to contaminants in the air stream. The paper will also discuss in detail the magnetic finite element analysis (FEA) of the actuator/sensor system, rotordynamics/controls analysis and backup bearing drop simulations.

NASA has designed and developed a next generation CO2 removal system, the Four Bed Carbon Dioxide Scrubber (4BCO2), and intends to use the International Space Station (ISS) as its test bed. Calnetix was responsible for the development of a magnetically levitated compact blower that is a key component of the CO2 removal system and will provide the airflow through the entire system. The high-speed blower consists of an overhung permanent magnet motor, a centrally located five-axis active magnetic bearing system, backup bearings and an overhung centrifugal impeller in a very compact package. In order to meet the application needs, the blower has the following unique characteristics:

  • Must operate continuously in the zero-gravity space environment
  • Must be able to withstand the ingestion of particles (dust in the cabin air and particles liberated from the filter media) without incurring damage
  • Bearings used cannot introduce (leak) any oil or grease into the airstream
  • Must be very robust and able to endure “off-design” operating conditions that include, operating with no flow, operating in a vacuum, operating under surge conditions and rapid flow change events or operating at very low or high speeds

“The Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA) system on the ISS has relied upon a foil air bearing supported blower, which hasn’t been able to meet the unique requirements of the application,” said Vatche Artinian, CEO of Calnetix. “Calnetix’s In-line Blower uses active magnetic bearings that helps to improve performance, reliability and resistance to contaminants and enables higher blower pressure rise and mass flow rate.”

“While developing the blower, the key design challenge was to fit an active magnetic bearing system, including backup bearings into a highly constrained space,” said Hawkins. “To help create the compact design, a centrally located bearing package was used with a centrifugal impeller located at the air inlet and an overhung motor at the outlet of the blower.  The air flows through an annular space around the internal components.”

In addition to being the presenting author of the paper on the compact blower for space applications, Hawkins also co-authored a paper titled “Computational Cost Reduction of MIMO Controllers for Active Magnetic Bearing Systems,” which was presented by the authors of Cleveland State University during the ASME Turbo Virtual Conference. The paper describes a novel method to reduce the computational cost of robust controllers by identifying the bounds in their dynamic response and implementing practical schemes that respect those bounds while reducing computation time.

The Turbo Expo provides the ultimate incubator for cross-collaboration between industry, academia, and research and development. This event helps companies learn about the latest research on turbines and helps researchers understand the problems that industry and corporations are trying to solve so they can focus their research on applications-based solutions. For more information visit .

About Calnetix Technologies

Calnetix Technologies, LLC (“Calnetix”), headquartered in Cerritos, Calif., is focused on Innovation That Drives Industries®. The company specializes in high-performance, high-speed motor generators and best-in-class advanced magnetic bearings and control systems. Calnetix’s patented, underlying technologies, which have been in use since the company’s inception in 1998, have made Calnetix a world leader in the design and production of high-speed machines. The company’s overall technology portfolio and system integration capabilities have led to development and production contracts with industry leaders and the start of many successful subsidiaries that focus on unique niche markets. For more information, please visit