Rebuilding the Five Megajoule Homopolar Machine at the University of Texas
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The role of the 5 MJ homopolar machine at the Center for Electromechanics has changed from that of a pulsed power supply experiment to that of a power supply for various experiments. ·Because of this change in duty, it was necessary to modify the machine to allow more efficient operation and easier connection of the machine to the load. The experimental bearings which were on the machine were replaced with bearings of a more conventional design. These bearings exhibit a higher stiffness and lower loss than the original bearings, making the machine more reliable and reducing motoring time. The surface of the poles were faced to make the applied field more uniform over the face of the rotor. This reduced the magnetic moment on the rotor and reduced the side forces on the rotor during discharge. The busbars were rebuilt to lower the resistance of the output circuit and to allow quicker change of experiments. The latching mechanism of the closing switch was rebuilt for better reliability and a damper was added to lower the mechanical shock on the switch during operation.