This paper describes the design and operation of an experimental facility for measurement of equivalent stiffness and damping of air bearings. The rig uses two magnetic bearings to impose any given orbit to the journal, including displacement in two perpendicular directions on the rotation plane and tilting on the conical mode. Dynamic forces are measured directly on the test bearing housing. Data is gathered and processed using PC based data acquisition boards and software. Only the stiffness and damping coefficients of the fluid film are calculated as a function of the excitation frequency, being it synchronous or not. The present design allows testing air bearings up to 44 mm in external diameter and at frequencies up to 1 KHz. Preliminary testing was performed on this research that demonstrates the capability of the apparatus to measure the dynamic properties with ease and accuracy.

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