Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight, reduction in power consumption, increase in reliability, and enhanced degrees of freedom (i.e., the number of ways a machine can move within three-dimensional space).
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has invented directed flux motors that increase degrees of freedom, albeit at the expense of device complexity and mass. Thus, the opportunity for further improvements in directed flux motors remained. The new Directed Flux Motor utilizes the directed magnetic flux of at least one magnet through ferrous material to drive different planetary gear sets to achieve capabilities in six actuated shafts that are grouped three to each side of the motor. The flux motor also utilizes an interwoven magnet configuration that reduces overall motor size. The motor allows for simple changes to modify the torque-to-speed ratio of the gearing contained, as well as simple configurations for up to six output shafts.
NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. For more information, contact the Goddard Strategic Partnerships Office at