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Plastic Bearings for Electric Pumps for Next Generation Battery Cells

Norio ITOH* Takuya ISHII*

In order to reduce CO2 emissions, devices with next generation battery cells are being introduced or are already on the market. Fuel cell co-generation systems, electric evehicles and hybrid vehicles have electric pumps to circulate cooling water in the cooling systems for the cells and motors. BEAREE AS5704 bearings, which have excellent self-lubricity, chemical resistance and high flexibility in design, are used in these electric pumps. This article introduces the characteristics and applications of BEAREE AS5704 bearings.

1. Preface
To help reduce CO2 emissions, unconventional apparatuses that do not burn fossil fuels have been increasingly marketed recently, and the need for apparatuses incorporating next generation battery cells has been mounting. The most common applications introducing these novel apparatuses include fuel-cell cogeneration systems in the industrial and home electric appliances fields and electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles in the automotive engineering field. Each of the cooling systems that mitigate heat buildup in these apparatuses has a built-in electromechanical pump that circulates cooling water. This article provides information about resin sliding bearings suitable for electromechanical pumps and the typical applications of such bearings are included.

into a fuel-cell stack that generates electricity by electrochemical reaction. Electrochemical reaction taking place in a fuel-cell stack is an exothermic reaction; therefore, the cooling system (which circulates cooling water) that regulates the temperature inside the cell stack to a constant level is driven by an electromechanical pump. The typical requirements for this electromechanical pump are high efficiency and compact size. In order to satisfy these requirements, the electromechanical pump adopted is often a magnet drive-type centrifugal pump.

2.2 Cooling systems on electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV)
On conventional automobiles driven by internal combustion engines (ICE), a centrifugal pump is used to circulate radiator coolant to cool down the ICE, wherein rotary motion on the engine is input to the pump shaft via a drive belt. Incidentally, any EV does not have an ICE, and an ICE on HEV is shut down in idling stop mode: therefore, an electromechanical pump is needed to actuate a cooling system for battery cells and/or electric motor. The electromechanical pump used for this purpose is often a magnet drive-type centrifugal pump.

2. Electromechanical pumps for various systems
2.1 Fuel-cell cogeneration system1)
By the electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, a fuel-cell generates electricity. The oxygen it uses is derived from air, while the hydrogen it uses is obtained by reforming the air with a reformer: the so-obtained oxygen and hydrogen are introduced

*Engineering Dept. NTN Engineering Plastics Corporation


1 shows a structure of a typical magnet drivetype centrifugal pump. an ordinary metal bearing can develop a corrosion problem: to address this issue. the magnets installed onto the motor shaft rotate to cause their magnetic force to rotate the impeller integrated with the magnets in the casing. (2) Low wear or abrasion on a mating material such as stainless steel (3) BEAREE AS5704 bearing boasts greater freedom of design in shape due to injection molding.) on the outer circumference of the bearing to help securely engage the bearing with the impeller (see Fig. . Fluid OUT Casing Lubricating slot (4 pos. wear of our bearing in water is 20% or lower. and acidic and alkali liquids. geometrical features can be readily formed on a resin-made sliding bearing. When the fluid transported by a pump is water.NTN TECHNICAL REVIEW No. a radial load and an axial load act on it.2 Basic physical characteristics Table 1 summarizes the basic physical characteristics of BEAREE AS5704 material. Retaining feature (D-shaped cutout) 3. The material used for this resin sliding bearing is NTN BEAREE AS5704. a resinmade sliding bearing can be formed together with an integrated impeller. projection. thereby causing the pump to transport the fluid. BEAREE AS5704 resin bearing Magnet Casing Thrust bearing 4. carbon sliding bearings and resin sliding bearings may be used 2). In particular. Bearing Motor shaft Fluid IN Stationary shaft Impeller Electric motor <Advantages> (1) Compared with a general-purpose PPS resin sliding bearing. this bearing type requires improvement in its resistance to impact-induced cracking and reduction of costs. wherein their rotary shafts are supported by bearings. With this structure.1 Magnet drive-type centrifugal pump Fig. pumps transport fluids such as water. injection-molded components of sliding bearing boast greater freedom of design for factors including shape. Resin sliding bearings boast better self-lubricating performance and chemical resistance. Therefore. lubricating oils. and the examples of such features include -52- 4. Three major pump operation types are available: centrifugal. When a resin sliding bearing runs. A carbon sliding bearing can be molded together with an impeller. Without undergoing any machining process. Construction of electromechanical pump Generally. however. Through an injection molding process.77(2009) 3. or acidic or alkaline liquid Magnet Fig. etc.) Fig.1 Features The BEAREE AS5704 resin sliding bearing consists of PPS (polyphenylene sulfide) blended with a special filler. 2 Bearing 4. (4) Can be used even in anti-freeze liquid. volumetric rotary and volumetric reciprocating types. 1 Structure of magnet drive centrifugal pump 3.2 Resin sliding bearing Conventional magnet drive type centrifugal pumps often use carbon sliding bearings. liquid fuels. because this bearing component is obtained only by machining a molded blank. thereby causing sliding contact between the bearing bore and stationary shaft and between the bearing end face and thrust force carrying face . the form factor flexibility of this work piece is limited. organic solvents. lubricating slots on the bore surface and end face of the bearing and a retaining feature (D-shaped cutout. or acidic or alkali liquid. 2).

5 provides the specific wear of these materials. the mating material tested with BEAREE AS5704 did not develop any wear (Figs.7 103 10 MD : 2. Fig. Table 3 Comparison of features various bearings Bearing type Process used BEAREE Carbon Phenol resin PTFE resin (including graphite) (including graphite) AS5704 Injection Injection compremolding Machining ssion molding Machining ◎ ◎ ○ ○ ○ ◎ ◎ ○ ◎ × × ○ × × △ △ △ × ○ ○ ○ × ◎ ○ ○ × × × ASTM D256 J/m (Notch type) ※The values given above are representative values. Furthermore. the BEAREE AS5704 bearing excels in chemical resistance and dimensional stability after having absorbed water. To compare wear resistance characteristics of these materials with those of BEAREE AS5704 and carbon material. BEAREE AS5704 boasts the lowest dynamic friction coefficient. Table 2 summarizes the test conditions applied.5×10-5 112 Table 3 provides a comparison of performance of sliding bearings made of these materials. Table 2 Wear test condition Characteristics Test equipment Bearing pressure Sliding velocity Mating material Environment Test time Specific wear ×10-8mm3/ (N・m) 500 400 300 200 100 0 Content Underwater ring on disk type 0.0×10-5 CD : 4. the wear depth on the mating material tested with the PPS resin blended with carbon fiber was approximately 5 µm. no temperature control) 50h BEAREE AS5704 Carbon Phenol resin (including graphite) PTFE resin (including graphite) Fig. 6 and 7). As a result. and PPS + PTFE). PPS + carbon fiber.4 MPa 25 m/min(Hv200,0. the specific wear of BEAREE AS5704 is less than 20% of the PPS resin blended with carbon fiber coefficient. 27 4. 3 shows specific wear NOTE) of various bearing materials.4μmRa) SUS304 Water (normal temperature. NOTE) “Specific wear” means a wear volume per unit sliding distance or per unit load calculated from wear before and after the test. 3 Specific wear of various bearings -53- .4 Comparison to PPS resin bearing Under the test conditions summarized in Table 2. comparison test for friction wear characteristics has been performed for BEAREE AS5704 and three PPSresin based bearing materials (PPS + fiber glass. BEAREE AS5704 boasts superior wear resistance and has lower friction compared with the carbon material.3 Comparison of various bearings (resin materials) Examples of materials of typical resin sliding bearings used in liquid include phenol resins and PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) resins. and the value of this coefficient remains stable. Smaller specific wear means smaller wear. Using PPS resin as a base material.Plastic Bearings for Electric Pumps for Next Generation Battery Cells Table 1 Basic characteristics of BEAREE AS5704 Characteristics Specific gravity Tensile strength Elongation Bending strength Bending elastic modulus Linear expansion coefficient Rockwell hardness Izod impact strength Test method ASTM D792 ASTM D638 ASTM D790 TMA method ASTM D785 Unit of Characteristic measurement value ― MPa % MPa GPa 1/˚C R scale 1.64 54 0. The wear depth on the mating material (SUS 304) that underwent the test has been measured. In contrast. Wear resistance (underwater) Chemical resistance Dimensional stability of material having absorbed water Resistance to cracking due to impact Resistance to deformation due to impact Degree of Freedom of design Price ◎:Excellent ○:Good △:Acceptable ×:Not acceptable 4. and Fig. we have performed an underwater wear test. and Fig. 4 shows the time-dependent variation in dynamic friction coefficients of these materials.

4μmRa) Environment Sliding area Antifreeze (normal temperature. Under each set of conditions. The limiting bearing pressure was recorded as the pressure at which the wear exceeded 20 µm or the sliding surface melted. Table 4 Limit PV test condition Characteristics Content 0. Table 5 summarizes limiting PV values calculated from the test velocity and limiting bearing pressure.6 Wear curve of BEAREE AS5704 0 BEAREE AS5704 PPS resin + fiber glass PPS resin + carbon fiber PPS resin + PTFE resin Fig. the time-dependent wear on BEAREE AS 5704 specimen were measured. no temperature control) 500h Test time 1mm Fig. the wear curve exhibits steady wear state and shows virtually no increase in the wear.15 MPa Fig. then the wear curve in Fig.0 0 10 20 30 40 50 Test equipment Underwater high-speed ring on disk type Sliding velocity 100,300 m/min Mating material SUS304(Hv200,0.8 0. 6 Surface roughness of mating material after test Sliding velocity 170 m/min Mating material SUS304(Hv200,0. Table 6 Wear test condition Characteristics Content 1mm Test equipment Underwater high-speed ring on disk type Bearing pressure 1.5 Limiting PV value of BEAREE AS5704 BEAREE AS5704 PPS resin + fiber glass PPS resin + carbon fiber PPS resin + PTFE resin Dynamic friction coefficient 0. 7 Surface roughness of mating material after test -54- .NTN TECHNICAL REVIEW No.2 0.77(2009) 4. This plot shows an initial wear phase beginning at the start of test and ending at 50 operating hours. 4 Coefficient of dynamic friction of PPS bearings Specific wear ×10-8mm3/ (N・m) 500 Table 5 Limiting PV value 400 Sliding velocity (V) 300 200 100 Limiting bearing pressure (P) 7 MPa 3 MPa Limiting PV value 700 MPa・m/min 900 MPa・m/min 100m/min 300m/min 4. the bearing pressure was increased by 1 MPa per hour.6 0.4μmRa) Environment Antifreeze (normal temperature. 8 was plotted. 5 Specific wear of PPS bearings Sliding area Under the test conditions summarized in Table 6. After that point.4 Two sets of velocity conditions summarized in Table 4 were tested. no temperature control) Time h Fig.

incorrect bearing clearance design can lead to elimination of bearing clearance to the mating shaft. Hayashi: Machine Parts and Elements. is adopted 4). For food machinery applications. Therefore. we are going to continue our research and development efforts for our resin sliding bearings so that we can further improve the sliding mechanism with our bearing products to improve their functionality. NTN Engneering Plastics Co. the bearing resin material must not be black in color. 13. Considerations about use of resin sliding bearings When setting up the clearance between a resin sliding bearing and a mating shaft.Plastic Bearings for Electric Pumps for Next Generation Battery Cells 30 Wear μm 20 10 Because its base material and filler are highly resistant to chemicals. it is necessary to consider the linear expansion coefficient of the resin material. Generally. 8 Wear curve 5. which is pale yellow. 4 (2006) 50 (Japanese) 3) NTN Corporation Editing Team: Understanding Bearings (2007) 154 4) Oki and T. To address these challenges. 7. Photos of authors Norio ITOH Engneering dept.. or there is a temperature gradient across the bearing and the impeller. In addition to BEAREE AS5704. linear expansion coefficients of resin materials are greater than those of metal materials. Special materials for difficult applications Electromechanical pumps have been used in various industrial fields and environments. We hope this report may help deliver useful information to people involved in this engineering field. No. 12 (1999) 48 (Japanese) 6. resulting in heat generation at the sliding area. Tajima: Development Status of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells (PEFC) 2. have longer service life and feature much more compact size. In this case. Consequently. Therefore. in a case where the material of an impeller integrated with a bearing is a metal. EVs and EHVs will be more commonly used in the future. performance of resin sliding bearings for these pumps need to be further improved.ltd -55- .. demand for electromechanical pumps used on these vehicles will further expand. NTN Engneering Plastics Co.ltd Takuya ISHII Engneering dept. NTN offers the BEAREE FL3700 and FL3642 lines of products made from PTFE resin as base material for difficult applications (Table 7). FL3700 remains impervious to virtually all chemicals. Denki (2004) 35 (Japanese) 2) T. We believe that demands for resin sliding bearings will further increase in applications that require low friction and low wear characteristics. and this in turn can lead to abnormally severe wear on the bearing and mating shaft 3). Afterword 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 Time h Fig. These electromechanical pumps need to be more efficient. For example. Ishii: Tribological Properties of PTFE Composite Materials in Water. and therefore is used in chemical pumps. No. Table 7 Bearings under special condition Bearing BEARI FL3700 BEARI FL3642 Base material PTFE resin PTFE resin Advantages Chemical resistance Non-black color: may be used in contact with food or drinking water. 57. References 1) O. the bearing expands toward its bore side. Japan Plastics Vol. FL3642. Monthly Tribology Vol.