The development of modern aero-engines is leading to increased pressure and temperature levels which makes increasing demands on the engines’ safety and reliability. In particular the vent-system of the bearing chambers located in the hot section of the engine represents a critical component in the design process due to the complex two-phase flow phenomena. The air/oil mixture that is discharged out of the bearing chambers has a strong influence on the overall pressure losses and it shows locally enhanced heat transfer where oil coking or oil fires with the risk of flashback into the bearing chamber can occur.

In order to gain a deeper insight into the interacting flow of air and oil, a glass pipe test section with a inner tube diameter of 10 mm was integrated into the vent-line of the high speed bearing chamber test rig operated at the Institut für Thermische Strömungsmaschinen, University of Karlsruhe, Germany. Therewith, an experimental study of the oil film along the wall in vertical annular upflow was performed by use of a laser focus displacement meter. This instrument which was introduced by Takamasa et al. [1] allows accurate measurements of film thickness to be made in real time with a sensitivity of 2 microns and a datarate of 1.5 kilohertz.

Comprehensive measurements were conducted at two locations of the pipe 320 mm apart in flow direction. A wide range of oil and air flow rates was examined to study their impact on the local film thickness. Both fluids were heated up to the same temperature of 70°C and 100 °C, respectively, to vary the oil viscosity by a factor of 2.

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