Identifying thermal characteristics of gas foil bearings (GFBs) provides an insight for successful implementation into high speed oil-free turbomachinery. The paper presents temperature measurements of a bump type GFB floating on a hollow shaft for various operating conditions. Two angular ball bearings support the hollow shaft at one end (right), and the other end (left) is free. Test GFB has the outer diameter of 100 mm and the axial length of 45 mm, and the hollow shaft has the outer and inner diameters of 60 mm and 40 mm, respectively. An electric motor drives the hollow shaft using a spline coupling connection. A mechanical loading device provides static loads on test GFB upward via a metal wire, and a strain gauge type load cell placed in the middle of the wire indicates the applied loads. During experiments for shaft speeds of 5 krpm, 10 krpm, and 15 krpm and with static loads of 58.86 N (6 kgf), 78.48 N (8 kgf), and 98.1 N (10 kgf), twelve thermocouples measure the outer surface temperatures of test GFB at four angular locations of 45 deg, 135 deg, 215 deg, and 315 deg, with an origin at the top foil free end, and three axial locations of bearing centerline and both side edges at each angle. Two infrared thermometers measure the outer surface temperature of the hollow shaft at free and supported ends close to test GFB. Test results show that GFB temperatures increase as the shaft speed increases and as the static load increases, with higher temperatures in the loading zone (135 deg and 215 deg) than those in the unloading zone (45 deg and 315 deg). In general, the recorded temperatures are highest at 225 deg where a highest hydrodynamic pressure is expected to build up. Measured temperatures at the bearing centerline are higher than those at the side edges, as expected. In addition, large thermal gradients are recorded in the hollow shaft along the axial direction with higher temperatures at the supported end. Angular ball bearings and lip seal supporting the hollow shaft might produce significant heat generation due to mechanical contact as the shaft speed increases. The axial thermal gradient of the shaft is thought to cause higher temperatures at the bearing right edge facing the ball bearing support than those at the left edge. The present test data along with detailed test GFB/shaft geometries and material properties benchmark thermohydrodynamic (THD) model predictions of test GFB with a rotating hollow shaft.

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