This work presents the theoretical and experimental rotordynamic evaluations of a rotor–air foil bearing (AFB) system supporting a large overhung mass for high-speed application. The proposed system highlights the compact design of a single shaft rotor configuration with turbomachine components arranged on one side of the bearing span. In this work, low-speed tests up to 45 krpm are performed to measure lift-off speed and to check bearing manufacturing quality. Rotordynamic performance at high speeds is evaluated both analytically and experimentally. In the analytical approach, simulated imbalance responses are studied using both rigid and flexible shaft models with bearing forces calculated from the transient Reynolds equation along with the rotor motion. The simulation predicts that the system experiences small synchronous rigid mode vibration at 20 krpm and bending mode at 200 krpm. A high-speed test rig is designed to experimentally evaluate the rotor–air foil bearing system. The high-speed tests are operated up to 160 krpm. The vibration spectrum indicates that the rotor–air foil bearing system operates under stable conditions. The experimental waterfall plots also show very small subsynchronous vibrations with frequency locked to the system natural frequency. Overall, this work demonstrates potential capability of the air foil bearings in supporting a shaft with a large overhung mass at high speed.

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