A gas operated bearing damper for turbomachinery has been designed, analyzed, and experimentally investigated in the laboratory. The damper utilizes air bled off from the compressor to power an actuator through orifices with area modulated by the vibratory displacement at the bearing support. The design objective for this passive device is to make the actuating dynamic gas pressure phase lead the vibratory displacement by 90 degrees.

Several variations of the basic concept have been tested. An analysis was performed to guide the experiments. All of the designs tested to date can produce positive damping, and one particular design has produced a damping coefficient of 8756 N-s/m (50 lb-sec/in) with a power penalty of 5.2 KW (7 HP) at 310 KPa (45 psi). This design was installed on a laboratory rotor with flexibly supported ball bearings, and significant damping of the critical speed response was demonstrated.

The experimental results to date suggest that further research can produce significant improvements in performance, and the device appears to be especially adaptable to high temperature applications for aircraft engines.

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