A detailed computational study of the air-flow through the outer gap of the front bearing of an aero-engine is presented. The reason to carry out this study was to understand the flow through the bearing as a function of the operational parameters of the engine, which was necessary for the modeling of the flow in the whole bearing chamber. The complex geometry and the size of the bearing gap relative to the overall dimensions of the bearing chamber and the need for very precise and detailed information of the effect on the flow within the chamber of the bearing operational parameters, prohibited the solution of the flow through the gap together with the rest of the bearing chamber. A 3-D modeling of the flow through the outer bearing gap, which included a section of the ball bearing, was performed. Functions relating the pressure drop of the air coming through the bearing gap and the tangential component of velocity of the air exiting the bearing region, to the mass of air through the gap of the ball bearing and the rotational speed of the shaft were developed. The effect of the lubrication oil within the bearing was modeled as an anisotropic porous medium with a predefined law. In order to acquire in a mathematical form the above relationships a series of computational runs were performed. These relationships, in the form of second order curves, were subsequently introduced to the model of the bearing chamber as described in . The constants of the relationships were derived through comparisons of the calculations with the experimental data. From the analysis it was concluded that the pressure drop across the bearing increases with the square of the rotational speed of the shaft with the mass flow of air through the ball bearing as a parameter and vice versa. For this particular ball bearing there is a region where, for any combination of rotational speed of the shaft and pressure drop through the bearing, there is no flow of air through the bearing.
In this paper the detailed modeling methodology, the computational flow field, the boundary conditions and finally the results are presented and discussed.