Journal bearings (JBs) are excellent bearings due to their large load carrying capacity and favorable damping characteristics. However, journal bearings are known to be prone to instabilities. The oil whirl and oil whip instabilities limit the rotor maximum rotating speed. In this paper, a novel approach is used to control the journal bearing instability. An active magnetic bearing (AMB) is used to overcome the JB instability and to increase its range of operation. The concept is quite simple: Rather than using the AMB as a load carrying element, the AMB is used as a controller only, resulting in a much smaller and more efficient AMB. The load carrying is done by the journal bearings, exploiting their excellent load carrying capabilities, and the JB instability is overcome with the AMB. This results in a combined AMB/JB that exploits the advantages of each device and eliminates the deficiencies of each bearing. Different controllers for the AMB to control the JB instability are examined and compared theoretically and numerically. The possibility of collocating the JB and the AMB is also examined. The results illustrate the effectiveness of the concept.

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