Rotating machines are generally equipped with tilting-pad journal bearings. In general, during the design phase, the aspects that are most taken into account are the dynamic performances in terms of stiffness and damping and the minimum thickness of the oil film to avoid mixed lubrication conditions that can lead to white metal wear phenomena. The thermal aspect, on the other hand, is often underestimated and can be critical for machines operating at high speed and high load. Thermal heating is caused by shear stresses in the lubricating film. In general, an increase in lubricant temperature corresponds to a reduction in oil viscosity followed by a reduction in lubricant film thickness. This has a beneficial effect on bearing stiffness. On the contrary, a high temperature in the oil film is detrimental to the mechanical characteristics of the white metal which is characterized by a low melting temperature and subject to thermal creep phenomena.
The article analyzes, by means of numerical simulations, the influence of the bearing geometry on the thermal behavior of the bearing. The bearing geometry will then be optimized to reduce the maximum temperature in the bearing.