Flywheel: 1-D Finite element tool for gyroscopic systems

Satellite reaction wheels, laboratory centrifuges, kinetic energy storage et.c. all rely on mechanical design of rotating systems of varying complexity. The current tool written in Julia, offers students and engineers a visual environment for designing their own, custom machine based on a blueprint file and obtain the resulting finite element matrices. In this way, one can analyse performance metrics such as unbalance response, critical speeds, bearing reaction forces and static deformations.

The Julia module Flywheel is a mechanical engineering tool for one dimensional finite element analysis of the lateral dynamics of gyroscopic systems. It allows one to import a custom machine, described by a blueprint text file containing geometric features and relevant material properties. The core of the module is the calculation of the finite element matrices of inertia, damping, gyroscopy and stiffness. These matrices can then be used to estimate a variety of performance metrics. Application examples are:
1) Static deformation due to gravity or other operation loads
2) Critical speeds, where resonance frequency and rotational speed coincide
3) Orbit response due to unbalance placed at defined locations of the machine
4) Insight into rotor dynamics in general
The user can easily export the matrices for use in another software environment as well. Two literature references describe the approach and are helpful for understanding finite element method in general. They can be used for creating similar or advanced modules of relevant functionality.