Large turbine bearings are usually equipped with hydrostatic jacking mechanisms to separate bearing and shaft during transient start-stop procedures. They are turned off once hydrodynamic operation is reached. In some cases, under severe operating conditions, the hydrostatic oil supply is kept running although the rotor already runs in full speed. The supplied amount of jacking oil is very small compared to the regular oil supply. However, experimental data of a large tilting-pad bearing shows that this hybrid operation has a considerable impact on the load carrying capacity in terms of lower pad temperature and larger film thickness.

In this paper, a theoretical investigation to analyse the effect of increased load carrying capacity of a large tilting-pad journal bearing in hybrid operation is presented. The increase is driven by three different aspects: 1) hydrostatic pressure component, 2) increase in lubricant viscosity due to the injection of cold oil, 3) decrease of temperature gradients and thus thermal pad deformation.

Subject of the approach is a ø500 mm five-pad, rocker-pivot tilting-pad journal bearing in flooded lubrication mode. The experiments are carried out on the Bochum test rig for large turbine bearings. The theoretical analyses are performed with a simulation code solving the Reynolds and energy equations for the oil film and calculating the thermomechanical pad deformations simultaneously. By considering each of the three above aspects separately and in combination, their share of load increase can be assessed individually. Contrary to expectations, the results indicate that the increase is not mostly based on the hydrostatic pressure component. Instead, the advantageously decreased pad deformations make the largest contribution to the increased load carrying capacity while the alteration in viscosity shows the least impact.

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