The paper presents the results of the experimental analysis of static and dynamic characteristics of a generation 1 foil bearing of 38.1 mm diameter and L/D = 1. The test rig is of floating bearing type, the rigid shaft being mounted on ceramic ball bearings and driven up to 40 krpm. Two different casings are used for start-up and for measurement of dynamic coefficients. In its first configuration, the test rig is designed to measure the start-up torque. The foil bearing casing is made of two rings separated by a needle bearing for enabling an almost torque free rotation between the foil bearing and the static load. The basic results are the start up torque and the lift off speed. In its second configuration a different casing is used for measuring the impedances of the foil bearing. Misalignment is a problem that is minimized by using three flexible stingers connecting the foil bearing casing to the base plate of the test rig. The test rig enables the application of a static load and of the dynamic excitation on the journal bearing casing, and can measure displacements, forces and accelerations. Working conditions consisted of static loads comprised between 10 N and 50 N and rotation frequencies ranging from 260 Hz to 590 HZ. Excitation frequencies comprised between 100 Hz are 600 Hz are applied by two orthogonally mounted shakers for each working condition. Stiffness and damping coefficients are identified from the complex impedances and enable the calculation of natural frequencies. The experimental results show that the dynamic characteristics of the tested bearing have a weak dependence on the rotation speed but vary with the excitation frequency.

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