It has recently been shown that high-speed grinding can be applied to the finishing of ceramics with considerable improvements in throughput and quality. This will require new high-speed high-power centerless grinding spindles (7,000 RPM, 50 HP), with high-stiffness of three hundred and fifty million Newtons/meter (2 million lb/in). To meet these requirements a novel inside-out, three-pad, pivoting-pad oil-fed hydrodynamic journal bearing has been devised, built and tested. One of the three pad’s pivot point is supported by a hydraulically-actuated radial-motion loading piston. This provides real-time controllable preload to all three bearing pads, thereby controlling bearing stiffness, providing less-stiff spindle bearings for initial rough grinding and very high stiffness spindle bearings for precision finish grinding. Extensive bearing test data compare favorably with theoretically predicted bearing performance.

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