Many researchers have compared predicted stiffness and damping coefficients for tilting-pad journal bearings (TPJBs) to measurements. Most have found that direct damping is consistently overpredicted. Continuing to test TBJBs in the same fashion is not likely to produce an explanation for the discrepancies between measured and predicted damping. Most analytical models for TPJBs are based on the assumption that explicit dependence on pad motion can be eliminated by assuming a solution for rotor motion such that the amplitude and phase of pad motions are predicted by rotor-pad transfer functions. Direct measurements of pad motion during test excitation are needed to produce measured transfer functions between rotor and pad motion, and a comparison between these measurements and predictions is needed to identify model discrepancies. A test setup was designed to fulfill these objectives. Motion probes were added to the loaded pad to obtain accurate measurement of pad radial and tangential motion, as well as tilt, yaw and pitch. For the remainder of this work, the loaded pad refers to the pad whose pivot sits on the static load line. Testing was performed primarily at low speeds and high loads, since this is the operating region for which predictions are most erroneous. Single frequency excitations were performed ranging from 10–350 Hz, producing rotor and pad motion, acceleration, and force vectors. This motion was used to determine frequency-dependent bearing impedances and rotor-pad transfer functions. A new pad perturbation model is proposed including the effects of pad angular, radial, and circumferential pad motion. This model was implemented in a Reynolds-based TPJB code to predict the frequency-dependent bearing impedances and rotor-pad transfer functions. These predictions are compared with measurements and discussed. Good agreement was found between the amplitude of the measured and predicted transfer functions concerning tilt and radial motions for low to moderate loads, but deviated in accuracy at the highest loaded case. Circumferential (sliding) pad motion was predicted and observed; however, the effect of this degree of freedom on dynamic bearing coefficients has not been quantitatively assessed. For the bearing investigated, radial motion accounted for more than 67% of total motion of the fluid-film height at the leading and trailing edges of the pad when operating at 4400 rpm under heavily loaded conditions. The measurements show that predicting TPJB stiffness and damping coefficients without accounting for pad pivot deformation will not produce satisfactory outcomes.

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