Foil gas thrust bearings are a critical component enabling oil-free turbomachinery, but because of the strong effect bearing compliance has on the hydrodynamic gas film, current numerical simulation efforts require experimental measurement of gas film quantities for verification. In this study, experimentally measured bearing torque over a range of speeds and loads is used to draw conclusions about the gas film characteristics. Assuming an isothermal gas film of constant thickness, the torque measurements give typical reference values for bearing compressibility number and film thickness under normal operation. These data are presented for use in the development of more accurate foil thrust bearing numerical models.

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