Gas foil bearings offer several advantages over traditional bearing types that make them attractive for use in high-speed turbomachinery. They can operate at very high temperatures, require no lubrication supply (oil pumps, seals, etc), exhibit very long life with no maintenance, and once operating airborne, have very low power loss. The use of gas foil bearings in high-speed turbomachinery has been accelerating in recent years, although the pace has been slow. One of the contributing factors to the slow growth has been a lack of analysis tools, benchmarked to measurements, to predict gas foil bearing behavior in rotating machinery. To address this shortcoming, NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) has supported the development of analytical tools to predict gas foil bearing performance. One of the codes has the capability to predict rotordynamic coefficients, power loss, film thickness, structural deformation, and more. The current paper presents an assessment of the predictive capability of the code, named XLGFBTH©. A test rig at GRC is used as a simulated case study to compare rotordynamic analysis using output from the code to actual rotor response as measured in the test rig. The test rig rotor is supported on two gas foil journal bearings manufactured at GRC, with all pertinent geometry disclosed. The resulting comparison shows that the rotordynamic coefficients calculated using XLGFBTH© represent the dynamics of the system reasonably well, especially as they pertain to predicting critical speeds.

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