Metal mesh materials have been used successfully in vibration isolators and bearing dampers due to their superior friction or hysteresis damping mechanism. These materials are formed to metal mesh (or wire mesh) structures in ring-shape by compressing a weave of metal wires, in general. Recently, oil-free rotating machinery implement metal mesh structures into hydrodynamic gas foil bearings by replacing bump strip layers with them, to increase its bearing structural damping. A metal mesh foil bearing (MMFB) consists of a top foil and support elastic metal mesh pads installed between a rotating shaft and a housing. The present research presents load capacity tests of a MMFB at rotor rest (0 rpm) and 30 krpm for three metal mesh densities of 13.1%, 23.2%, and 31.6%. The metal mesh pad of test MMFB is made using a stainless steel wire with a diameter of 0.15 mm. Test rig comprises a rigid rotor with a diameter of 60 mm supported on two ball bearings at both ends and test MMFB with an axial length of 50 mm floats on the rotor. Static loads is provided with a mechanical loading device on test MMFB and a strain gauge type load cell measures the applied static loads. A series of static load versus deflection tests were conducted for selected metal mesh densities at rest (0 rpm). Test data are compared to further test results of static load versus journal eccentricity recorded at the rotor speed of 30 krpm. Test data show a strong nonlinearity of bearing deflection (journal eccentricity) with static load, independent of rotor spinning. Observed hysteresis loops imply significant structural damping of test MMFB. Measured journal deflections at 0 rpm are in similar trend to recorded journal eccentricities at the finite rotor speed, thus implying that the MMFB performance depends mainly on the metal mesh structures. The paper also estimates linearlized stiffness coefficient and damping loss factor of test MMFB using the measured static load versus deflection test data at 0 rpm and 30 krpm. The results show that the highest mesh density of 31.6% produces highest linearlized stiffness coefficient and damping loss factor. With rotor spinning at 30 krpm, the linearlized stiffness coefficient and damping loss factor decrease slightly, independent of metal mesh densities. The present test data will serve as a database for benchmarking MMFB predictive models.

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