The target application for NASA programs is primarily aircraft gas turbines, particularly high performance engines where the added bearing rating could be utilized to increase engine output, reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs and increase safety and reliability. Other NASA applications could be any rotating components where weight or power consumption is an issue, such as motors, rotors, pumps and wheels. The process would also be applicable to new bearing materials and non-bearing applications such as airframe structures, gears, drivetrain components and any component where fatigue and flaw tolerance are issues of concern.
Bearings are a fundamental mechanical component used throughout transportation, energy generation and manufacturing. Improving bearing load ratings in a cost effective manner could have a significant impact on automobile fuel economy, wind turbine power generation, aircraft engine efficiency and reliability, manufacturing machinery reliability, and just about any other rotating component. With all these applications, the global bearing market is a worth $42B/year, with more than 75 bearing manufacturers. The cavitation peening technology is also widely applicable to other materials and components, such aluminum airframes, carburized gears, titanium rotors and disks, steel structures and just about any place where fatigue is a concern.