Dr. Ricketts Receives Research Award for Near Frictionless Surface Acoustic Wave from NSF

July 18, 2013

Dr. David Ricketts 
Dr. David Ricketts

Dr. David Ricketts, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been awarded $266,897 by the National Science Foundation for research on Near Frictionless Surface Acoustic Wave Active Bearing for Disk Drive and Other Applications.

The award will run from May 15th, 2013 to August 31st, 2014.

Research Abstract:

This research investigates a novel mechanical interface which utilizes surface acoustic waves (SAW) for lubrication. In this concept, SAW?s are used to realize a direct contact interface with zero effective friction between two surfaces sliding at high relative velocities. If a traveling SAW is excited on one of the two surfaces moving relative to one another, and the contact points, which are the peaks of the traveling SAW, have the same horizontal velocity as the relative velocity between the two surfaces, the contact points will not experience any friction. The creation of zero-sliding-velocity contact points minimizes effective friction without applying any lubricants and, as a result, enables a host of new applications. This is the converse effect to ultrasonic motors, which use SAW?s to create friction forces between two surfaces. This concept in essence is an active mechanical bearing.