Comprehensive modeling of gas foil bearings (GFBs) anchored to reliable test data will enable the widespread usage of these bearings into novel high speed turbomachinery applications. GFBs often need a forced cooling gas flow, axially fed through one end of the bearing, for adequate thermal management. The paper presents rotordynamic response measurements on a rigid rotor supported on GFBs during rotor speed run-up and coastdown tests with the GFBs supplied with increasing feed gas pressures to 2.8 bar. Rotor speed run-up tests to 35 krpm show that bearing end side feed gas pressurization delays the onset speed of rotor subsynchronous whirl motions. The test data validate closely predictions of the threshold speed of instability and whirl frequency ratio derived from a GFB model that implements the axial evolution of gas circumferential flow velocity as a function of the imposed side feed pressure. Rotor speed coastdown tests from 25 krpm with a low feed pressure of 0.35 bar evidences a nearly linear synchronous rotor response for small and moderately large imbalance mass distributions. A structural FE rotordynamics model integrates linearized synchronous speed GFB force coefficients and predicts synchronous responses, amplitude and phase angle, agreeing with the test data. The analysis and measurements demonstrate the profound effect of end side, feed gas pressurization on the rotordynamic performance of GFBs.

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