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# ME 130: Flywheel

V Sundararajan
February 5, 2016

A flywheel is a device that stores rotational kinetic energy. It is used to smooth out variations
in speed when the drive torque differs from the load torque. In certain applications, either the drive
torque or the load torque or both vary cyclically. During the parts of the cycle where the drive
torque exceeds the load torque, the load speeds up while in the parts of the cycle where the load
torque exceeds the drive torque, the load slows down.
Let TD be the drive torque while TL is the load torque. Let I be the moment of inertia of the
load. If TD > TL , the load accelerates, while if TD < TL , the load decelerates. If TD = TL , then
speed of the load stays constant.
TD TL = I

(1)

Since = d
dt , and = () (i.e. is a function of ), we can use the chain rule
Substituting in Eq. 1, we get
d d
d dt
(TD TL )d = Id

d
dt

d d
d dt .

TD TL = I

(2)

## Integrating Eq. 2, we get

Z

(TD TL )d =
1

Id
1
I22

I12
2

(3)

The integral in Eq. 3 is the work done by the excess torque as the inertia rotates from angle 1
to 2 . The term after the equality sign is the difference between the final rotational kinetic energy
and initial rotational energy.
We can find the points in the cycle where the angular speed is minimum min and where it is
maximum max . The difference corresponds to the maximum work done by the torque difference
Emax . Define the average angular speed avg and coefficient of fluctuation Cs as:
avg =
Cs =

max + min
2
max min
avg

(4)
(5)

## Working on the right hand side of Eq. 3,

2
I 2
max + min
Imax
min = I(max min )
2
2
2
= I(max min )avg
2 max min
= Iavg
avg
2
= Iavg
Cs

Substituting, we get
2
Emax = Iavg
Cs

(6)

Example 1

The drive torque of a machine is given by the equation TD = 20+3 sin 2 kN-m while TL = 20+6 sin
kN-m. The average speed of the machine is 960 rpm and the moment of inertia is 10 kg m2 .
Determine:
1. the coefficient of fluctuation of the machine
2. the maximum and minimum speed of the machine
3. the maximum angular acceleration of the machine.
4. the mass of a 0.75 m radius flywheel required to reduce the coefficient of fluctuation to 0.05.
Solution The drive and load torque are shown in Figure 1

## 1. First compute the work done.

Z
Z
(3 sin 2 6 sin )
(TD TL )d =
0

cos 2
|0 ( cos )|0
2
1 1
+ 6(1 1)
=3
2
= 15kJ
=3

The negative sign means that the drive torque is doing less work than that demanded by the
2 C , we get
Using E = Iavg
s

15 103 = (10)(

2960 2
) Cs = Cs = 0.148
60

## 2. Using the definition of Cs , we get = max min = Cs avg . Substituting Cs = 0.148

and avg = 960rpm gives = 142.1. Combining with the definition of avg , we get
min = 889rpm and max = 1031rpm.
3. Maximum angular acceleration occurs when the excess torque is maximum. Maximize Texcess =
TD TL . Differentiate and set the derivative equal to zero. This gives = 120o and
= 240o . The former gives the minimum while the second is maximum. The maximum
Texcess = 3 sin (480) 6 sin (240) = 7.8kN m. Using T = I, we get 7800 = 10 and hence
2
2
4. 15 103 = I( 2960
60 ) (0.05) = I = 29.68kg m . Since the machine already provides
10 kg m2 , the flywheel needs to provide 19.68 kg m2 . Using I = 12 mr2 and 19.69 =
1/2m(0.75)2 = m = 70 kg

Example 2

Figure 3 shows the drive torque while the load torque is constant. The average angular speed is
300 rpm while the inertia of the machine is 5 kg m2 . Determine the maximum acceleration of
the machine. Determine the mass of a flywheel of diameter 1 m if the coefficient of fluctuation is
0.01.
Solution Average torque = (360)(/2)+90(/2)+240(/2)
= 172.5 N m
2
E12 = (360 172.5)(/2) = 93.75
E23 = (90 172.5)(/2) = 41.25
E34 = (240 172.5)(/2) = 33.75
E41 = (0 172.5)(/2) = 86.25
Maximum swing in kinetic energy = 93.75 (41.25) = 135J
avg = 2300