Renewable energy sources, such as wind and wave, can power our world. Currently, mechanical gears are used inside of these energy conversion systems to connect a high-speed electric machine to a low-speed physical energy source. Improving the design of the systems that convert these sources into electrical energy has far-reaching benefits.
Matthew Gardner, a doctoral student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, is studying the use of magnetic gears and their advantages over the traditional mechanically geared machines.
Just like mechanical gears, magnetic gears transform rotational power between different speeds and torques but instead of physically interlocking teeth, they use magnetic fields. By using magnets to transmit torque between the input and output shafts of the gear, they avoid mechanical contact. This provides a number of advantages such as reduced maintenance, reduced acoustic noise and vibrations, and improved overall reliability.