Tilting pad journal bearings (TPJBs) are crucial elements in turbomachinery applications providing stiffness and damping characteristics that determine rotor system dynamic behavior. Hence, a correct design and an accurate dynamic properties prediction is fundamental for the successful industrial operation of rotating machinery. Current design trends in turbomachinery aiming at higher efficiency and power through weight optimization and higher operating speeds determine the development of large flexible rotors that are particularly important from the rotordynamic standpoint. The dynamic feasibility of this type of machine relies on bearing stiffness and damping characteristics that must be predicted with a certain level of confidence in order to increase the accuracy of the expected rotordynamic behaviour and avoid unpredicted vibration issues when rotors are operated. Furthermore, large centrifugal compressors commonly used in Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) applications make the bearings operate at very high peripheral speed where the transition from laminar to turbulent regime occurs, increasing the necessity of predictions accuracy.

In this paper a test campaign on different large TPJB solutions operating in turbulent lubrication regime has been performed on a dedicated test rig designed for investigations on large size high-performance oil bearings.

In the present work both static performance and dynamic identification of the tested TPJB solutions are presented and compared to numerical model predictions. The results of an uncertainty quantification, performed to validate the experimental results, are also shown.

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