Thrust bearing is a key component of large-scale water turbine. It closely relates to the efficiency of large-scale water turbines, and even determines whether the large-scale turbine can operate normally. With the development of the capacitance of water turbines, thrust bearing will develop to the direction of high speed and heavy load. The structure, strength, lubrication and the characteristic of heat radiation of large-scale thrust bearing were often researched in the past. To study the flow condition of the large-scale thrust bearing and analyze the load characteristics, CFD simulation was carried out on the model of thrust bearing. In this study, CFD method was used to simulate the internal flow field of the large-scale thrust bearing. The model researched was a thrust bearing for 1000MW water turbines. The diameter of the thrust bearing was over 5.8 meters, and the maximum thrust load of the bearing can reach to 60MN. The thin gap between the runner and the pad was usually neglected in the published CFD calculations of thrust bearing. But the thin gap was taken into account in this investigation. 1/12 of the model was used as the computational field and periodic boundary was used in the calculation. The standard κ-ε turbulence model was used to simulate the thrust bearing model, and the flow field in the thrust bearing was obtained. The thin gap between the runner and the pad is a wedge. The pressure and velocity distribution in the thrust bearing and thin gap was calculated respectively with conditions of different thin gaps and different rotational speeds of runner. After that, the relationship between carrying capacity and the size of clearance or the speed of the runner through analyzing the data has been obtained from the results of the calculation.

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