Grooved thrust air bearings are widely used to support high-speed, low-loaded shafts in many rotating systems because of their low friction, noiseless operation, and simple structure. Several types of groove geometries, such as straight line, spiral, and herringbone, are commonly used in actual applications. Among them the spiral groove is mainly used. However, as far as the authors know, there is no theoretical evidence that the spiral groove is an optimized groove geometry in all possible groove geometries. This paper describes the optimum design for the groove geometry of thrust air bearings according to various objective functions, such as air film thickness, bearing torque, dynamic stiffness of air film, and combinations of same. In an optimum design, groove geometries are expressed by the third degrees of spline function, and sequential quadratic programming is used as the optimization method. We found that groove geometry optimizing air film thickness or friction torque takes the form of a spiral groove. The geometry optimizing the dynamic stiffness is the modified spiral groove. Some numerical results are compared with the measured data, and good agreements can be seen between them.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.