Micro-turbomachinery (MTM) implements gas bearings in compact units of enhanced mechanical reliability. Gas bearings, however, have little damping and wear quickly during transient rub events. Flexure pivot tilting pad bearings offer little or no cross-coupled stiffnesses with enhanced rotordynamic stability; and when modified for hydrostatic pressurization, demonstrate superior rotordynamic performance over other bearing types. External pressurization stiffens gas bearings thus increasing system critical speeds, albeit reducing system damping. Most importantly, measurements demonstrate that external pressurization is not needed for rotor super critical speed operation. In practice, the supply pressure could be shut off at high rotor speeds with substantial gains in efficiency. The paper introduces a simple strategy, employing an inexpensive air pressure regulator to control the supply pressure into the hybrid bearings, to reduce or even eliminate high amplitudes of rotor motion while crossing the system critical speeds. Rotor speed coast-down tests with the pressure controller demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach. A simple on-off supply pressure control, i.e. a sudden increase in pressure while approaching a critical speed, is the best since it changes abruptly the bearing stiffness coefficients and moves the system critical speed to a higher speed. A rotordynamic analysis integrating predicted bearing force coefficients forwards critical speeds in agreement with the test results. Predicted rotor responses for the controlled supply conditions show an excellent correlation with measured data. The experiments validate the predictive tools and demonstrate the controllable rotordynamic characteristics of flexure pivot hybrid gas bearings.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.