Patents by Inventor Alex Pinera

Alex Pinera has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 8220267
    Abstract: A Helmholtz resonator is used to detect a presence of a two-phase flow in a conduit. The resonator is sized so that a range of frequencies it is tuned for corresponds to a change in the speed of sound as the fluid changes from all liquid, to liquid plus vapor, and to all vapor. A band-pass filter is used to cancel out any external noise that would pollute the signal from the resonator. The resonator is used to monitor for a two-phase flow occurring within a feed line leading into a turbopump of a rocket engine.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 1, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 17, 2012
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Elizabeth V Stein, Alex Pinera
  • Patent number: 8177489
    Abstract: An axial tip turbine driven pump in which a first fluid pumped by an inducer is driven by a second fluid that reacts with a turbine blade extending from a shroud on the inducer. The inducer includes a set of screw thread blades and a second set of partial blades that are covered by a shroud in the aft section of the inducer. A row of turbine blades extends from the shroud and into a manifold that forms the outer casing for the pump. The fluid flow through the manifold reacts with the turbine blades and drives the inducer to pump the fluid from the inlet and through guide vanes downstream from the inducer. Fluid from a pre-burner or a gas generator used to drive a main turbine is bled off and used to drive the low pressure turbine blades and the inducer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 28, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 15, 2012
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Alex Pinera, Frank W Huber
  • Patent number: 8083469
    Abstract: A bearing lubrication system for a high temperature bearing, such as in a small gas turbine engine for a UAV, in which the bearing and lubricant requires a long shelf life, where the bearing includes a solid lubricant movable within a chamber formed within a housing and located adjacent to the bearing. The solid lubricant is biased by a spring toward the bearing and abuts against a runner that rotates along with the rotor shaft during engine operation. A cooling air passage opens into a space formed between the bearing and the solid lubricant to supply cooling air through the bearing. When the engine operates, heat is transferred through the runner to the solid lubricant to melt the lubricant. Rubbing of the runner against the biased solid lubricant will also melt the lubricant. The melting lubricant is carried by the cooling air through the bearing to provide both cooling and lubrication for the bearing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 27, 2011
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventor: Alex Pinera
  • Patent number: 8057165
    Abstract: A hydrocarbon presence sensor used to detect for the presence of a fuel in a buffer cavity of an inter-propellant seal. A sensor is formed on a rotor shaft in the buffer cavity and an optical imaging device is used to view a change in appearance of the sensor when a hydrocarbon forms on the surface. In one embodiment, the sensor is a coating of porous silicon. In other embodiments, the sensor can be a mirrored or frosted surface on the shaft. A white light source or a laser is reflected off of the sensor and an optical imaging device reads the reflected light to detect for a change in color or intensity of the light to indicate if a hydrocarbon is present on the sensor surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 31, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2011
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Elizabeth D Garvin, William S Walsh, Elizabeth V Stein, Alex Pinera
  • Patent number: 7931441
    Abstract: A two blade row inducer for a low pressure pump in a turbopump of a rocket engine. The inducer includes a first set of blades and a second set of blades or partial blades in which the partial set of blades is covered with a shroud and the shroud includes a row of turbine blades extending outward to form a turbine to drive the inducer. The first set of blades is spiral or screw thread blades that end just upstream from the leading edges of the second set of blades covered with the shroud. In another embodiment, the screw thread blades can extend toward the aft end of the inducer and in-between adjacent partial blades in which the shroud also covers the aft ends of the screw thread blades. A second fluid reacts with the turbine blades to rotate the inducer and pump the first fluid.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2011
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Alex Pinera, Frank W Huber
  • Patent number: 7896550
    Abstract: A hydrodynamic liquid metal bearing capable of use in a high temperature environment. The hydrodynamic bearing includes a rotating shaft with a raised portion extending into an annular groove formed within a stationary sleeve, the space formed between the two forming the liquid bearing surface. The raised portion in the shaft includes an axial passage and a radial passage to pump the liquid into a high pressure cavity formed in the annular groove. A low pressure cavity forms a recirculating passage with the high pressure cavity and the axial and radial passages such that the liquid metal recirculates with the rotation of the shaft. A collecting space formed between a labyrinth seal and a wind back seal collects any fluid that leaks into the space from the bearing. The leaked fluid is collected in a reservoir, and a pump delivers makeup liquid from the reservoir into the low pressure reservoir of the bearing. The bearing is a radial bearing, and in another embodiment is both a radial and a thrust bearing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2007
    Date of Patent: March 1, 2011
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Alex Pinera, Philip C. Pelfrey
  • Patent number: 7828511
    Abstract: An axial tip turbine driven pump in which a first fluid pumped by an inducer is driven by a second fluid that reacts with a turbine blade extending from a shroud on the inducer. The inducer includes a set of screw thread blades and a second set of partial blades that are covered by a shroud in the aft section of the inducer. A row of turbine blades extends from the shroud and into a manifold that forms the outer casing for the pump. The fluid flow through the manifold reacts with the turbine blades and drives the inducer to pump the fluid from the inlet and through guide vanes downstream from the inducer. The fluid passing through the turbine blades is collected in an outlet collector manifold and discharged into the fluid flowing through the guide vanes. The inducer with the turbine blades is rotatably supported within the housing formed by the guide vane support member and the manifold casing. The swirl flow direction of the turbine blades is opposite to that of the swirl flow in the inducer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: November 9, 2010
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Alex Pinera, Frank W Huber
  • Patent number: 7775763
    Abstract: A centrifugal pump or compressor with a labyrinth seal that produces an axial thrust balance when the impeller shifts in the axial direction due to fluid pressure forces acting on the impeller, and a process for reducing the axial thrust imbalance by regulating the fluid leakage from a front pressure cavity of the pump. The impeller includes a front face that forms part of a front pressure cavity in which fluid pressure acts that produces a thrust imbalance on the impeller. A labyrinth seal with a plurality of teeth is formed between the housing and the front face of the impeller near the impeller inlet. The teeth form gaps with lands formed on the impeller face, where the lands are slanted and stepped such that axial displacement of the impeller changes the gap space to regulate the fluid pressure acting in the front cavity. A self regulating fluid pressure is developed within the front cavity to produce a balancing force against the impeller.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2007
    Date of Patent: August 17, 2010
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Gabriel L. Johnson, Alex Pinera, Ross H. Peterson
  • Patent number: 7748959
    Abstract: A turbine disc used in a turbo-pump that is exposed to a large thermal gradient across the sides of the rotor disc. The warm side of the turbine disc is covered by a cover plate that forms a sealed space between the turbine disc and the cover plate, and this space is evacuated or insulated to form a complete vacuum or as near as a complete vacuum as possible. The surfaces of the turbine disc and cover plate that form the vacuum space are also coated with a reflective coating such as with a highly polished surface of low emissivity in order to minimize the radiation heat loss through the vacuum space. The turbine disc can have a cover plate forming a vacuum space or insulated cavity on both sides of the turbine disc. Ribs are also used within the vacuum space as supports for the cover plate due to the difference in pressure from the ambient side and the vacuum.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2010
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Alex Pinera, Todd A. Ebert
  • Patent number: 7748960
    Abstract: A rotary shaft to hub connection, such as that used between a centrifugal compressor or pump and a shaft. The hub includes inner and outer axial extending members that fit within inner and outer annular grooves formed within the rotary shaft so that a tight fit between the shaft and the hub is maintained during high speed rotation. An inwardly extending projection is formed on the outer axial extending member of the hub that forms a tight fit against the shaft.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 6, 2010
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Walter Marussich, Alex Pinera
  • Patent number: 7491030
    Abstract: A variable inlet guide vane assembly in a turbomachine in which the vanes can vary in angle to control the flow through into the turbomachine, each guide vane having a leading edge portion and a trailing edge portion, and where the entire vane can pivot or the trailing edge portion can pivot about the leading edge portion. The leading edge and trailing edge portions each have a magnetic field generating material located within the portion of the vane or one a surface of the vane. The vanes are offset in the shroud such that the trailing edge portion of a first vane is located closer to the leading edge portion of an adjacent vane than to the trailing edge portion of the adjacent vane. An electric current is passed through at least one of the trailing edge and leading edge portions to produce a magnetic field. The magnetic field causes the trailing edge portion to move toward the leading edge portion of the adjacent vane.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2006
    Date of Patent: February 17, 2009
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Alex Pinera, Gabriel L Johnson
  • Patent number: 7445424
    Abstract: In a gas turbine engine having a rim cavity formed between a rotor disk and a stator, and a brush seal or other seal member providing an airflow seal between the stator and a side plate of the rotor disk, a thermally responsive valve device is located in the bypass passage of the stator to form a parallel air flow path with the brush seal. As the brush seal wears and the leakage airflow around the worn brush seal increases, the air flow temperature in the rim cavity would decrease. The thermally responsive valve device would detect the decreasing airflow temperature, and reduce the airflow passing through the bypass passage in order to prevent the temperature of the rim cavity from decreasing. The temperature responsive valve device makes use of a bimetallic valve member that regulates airflow based upon temperature.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 22, 2006
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2008
    Assignee: Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: Todd A. Ebert, Alex Pinera, Antonio Negron