Bearing systems in engine-oil lubricated turbochargers (TCs) must operate reliably over a wide range of shaft speeds and withstanding severe axial and radial thermal gradients. An engineered thermal management of the energy flows into and out of the bearing system is paramount to ensure the components mechanical integrity and the robustness of the bearing system. The bearings, radial and thrust type, act both as a load bearing and low friction support with the lubricant carrying away a large fraction of the thermal energy generated by rotational drag and the heat flow disposed from a hot shaft. The paper introduces a thermohydrodynamic analysis for prediction of the pressure and temperature fields in a (semi) floating ring bearing system. The analysis solves simultaneously the Reynolds equation with variable oil viscosity and the thermal energy transport equation in the inner and outer films of the bearing system. Flow conditions in both films are coupled to the temperature distribution and heat flow thru the (semi)floating ring. Other constraints include calculating the fluid films’ forces reacting to the externally applied load and to determine the operating journal and ring eccentricities. Predictions of performance for a unique realistic (S)FRB configuration at typical TC operating conditions reveal distinct knowledge: (a) the heat flow from the shaft into the inner film is overwhelming, in particular at the inlet lubricant plane where the temperature difference with the cold oil is largest; (b) the inner film temperature increases quickly as soon as the (cold) lubricant enters the film and due to the large amount of energy generated by shear drag and the heat transfer from the shaft; (c) a floating ring develops a significant radial temperature gradient; (d) at all shaft speeds, low and high, the thermal energy carried away by the lubricant streams is no less that 70% of the total energy input; the rest is conducted through the TC casing. To warrant this thermal energy distribution, enough lubricant flow must be supplied to the bearing system. The efficient computational model offers a distinct advantage over existing lumped parameters thermal models and with no penalty in execution time.

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