In recent years, small-size aerodynamic bearings for turbomachines such as blowers and compressors have attracted considerable attention for increasing rotational speed. These kinds of bearings require excellent stability at high speeds and durability in a high-temperature environment. Foil bearings are one of the most suitable candidates that can satisfy these requirements but their structure is very complicated, and it is difficult to control their manufacturing accuracy. It is well known that flexibly supported herringbone-grooved aerodynamic journal bearings have excellent stability at high speeds and they are relatively easy to manufacture compared with foil bearings. Moreover, their dynamic characteristics can be easily solved numerically. In this paper, a flexibly supported herringbone-grooved aerodynamic journal bearing using straight spring wires made of stainless steel is proposed to provide a simple and reliable support system for a bearing bush. Six straight spring wires were assembled into a hexagonal shape into which the bearing bush was inserted. The threshold speed of instability of the proposed aerodynamic bearing was investigated numerically and experimentally. For this investigation, the nonlinear orbit method was adopted in numerical calculations. This investigation found that straight spring wires could steadily support the bearing bush and provide a simple and reliable support system for the bearing bush and that a 6-mm-diameter rigid rotor with a mass of 4.8 g supported by the proposed aerodynamic journal bearings could stably rotate at speeds of more than 0.7 million rpm.

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