Why does Seakeeper’s flywheel spin in a vacuum?

There’s a lot of information online that makes it confusing to understand how stabilizing gyroscopes work, so it’s no surprise that when we get excited about our flywheel spinning in a vacuum, the regular boater might think, “so what?”

We’re going to break it down to show you why a gyro in a vacuum enclosure is THE most efficient stabilizer you can have on your boat.

WHAT IS A VACUUM, EXACTLY?

Encyclopaedia Britannica defines a vacuum as, “space in which there is no matter or in which the pressure is so low that any particles in the space do not affect any processes being carried on there.”

In terms of your Seakeeper, this means that our flywheel, spinning in a near-vacuum, is uninhibited by any air resistance.

SO WHAT?

Back to that question you were thinking about earlier. There are four BIG reasons why spinning the flywheel in a vacuum is important, and why we worked on our vacuum encapsulation for years before releasing Seakeeper into the market.

  1. Speed – To increase gyroscopic power, you have to increase the weight/size or speed of the flywheel. With no air resistance inside the vacuum, we can spin our flywheel three times faster than if it weren’t contained in a vacuum without increasing power.
  2. Weight – Since we’re able to increase speed, we can cut the weight by two-thirds of what would be needed without the vacuum enclosure.
  3. Power – Also because of the elimination of air resistance, keeping the flywheel up to speed is much easier, requiring half the power of a gyro without it.
  4. Protection – Seakeeper’s most critical components (flywheel, bearings, and motor) are sealed within the vacuum enclosure, forever isolating them from the harsh, salty marine environment.

WHY DON’T ALL GYROSCOPES HAVE VACUUM-SEALED ENCLOSURES?

The short answer: it’s more complicated. That means more money, more time, and more resources to develop the best, most efficient stabilizer available.

The bearings (friction) and motor (power) create heat inside the sealed sphere. When you then enclose all of that heat, you have to find a way to remove it from the enclosure so the Seakeeper can operate without overheating. We spent five years of research and development to solve this problem with our cooling system, and we patented the way we did it.

We might not build our stabilizers like everyone else, but we also don’t take shortcuts because your boating experience depends on it.

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