Enabling Technologies Baker Case Study

Air Force Phase II SBIR – Enabling Technologies – Baker Light Weight Dry Sump System

As a developer of unique engines for DoD and commercial applications, Baker Engineering has out of necessity developed numerous enabling technologies to support increased power density, weight reduction, heavy fuel operation, and miniaturization of commercially available technologies. One of these areas of technology development has been in tribological systems and lubrication.

Red flag


Commercially available small engines and small engines for unmanned aerial systems often do not feature pressurized oil systems. To improve capability, performance, and durability through the addition of more efficient fuel systems and turbocharging, it is necessary to supply clean pressurized lubrication. There is not an existing off the shelf solution for these engines, because automotive based systems are generally too large and heavy to support small engines, and many hobby or recreational systems (ATV, Powersports, etc) don’t have the performance or durability required for DoD applications.
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Baker Engineering has specialized knowledge in the design and manufacture of lubrication systems including gerotor style oil pumps. To support the addition of an oil lubricated turbocharger and fuel pump drive on the Baker Heavy Fuel Rotary Engine, a compact, lightweight dry sump oil system was developed. The core of this system is a bespoke 3-stage oil pump featuring an integrated pressure regulator, oil filter, pressure sensor, and temperature sensor.

The pump design features a single pressure stage supplying pressurized oil to an oil journal bearing turbocharger and a roller bearing supported pump drive assembly. The turbocharger and pump drive both have a scavenge pump section to evacuate oil and return it back to an external dry sump tank.

Prior to pump design, testing was completed on prototype hardware to evaluate required oil flow for both cooling and lubrication. Gerotor geometry was scaled based on proven designs from past Baker Engineering projects with additional optimization to inlet and outlet geometry to improve volumetric efficiency. An internal bypass regulator controls output pressure, and an integrated oil filter mount enables easy maintenance and helps keep system weight down.

The final result is a compact oil pump design weighing only 2.7 lb with oil filter, sensor, fittings, and drive pulley installed. Future development of this system may include further integration of the pump hardware into the main engine housing to reduce part count and minimize external oil lines. Baker Engineering has utilized similar gerotor style oil pumps for many small engines including 2-stroke and 4-stroke applications and can lean on a library of past performance knowledge to develop new designs with confidence.

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