A fixed-geometry hybrid thrust bearing is investigated with three different supply orifice diameters, (1.63, 1.80, and 1.93 mm). The test rig uses a face-to-face thrust-bearing design, with the test bearing acting as the rotor loading mechanism. A hydraulic shaker applies the static axial load, which is reacted by a second (slave) thrust bearing. The rotor is supported radially by two water-lubricated fluid-film journal bearings and is attached to a 30.6 krpm motor via a high-speed coupling with very low axial stiffness. Thrust bearings are tested for a range of supply pressures (5.17, 10.34, and 17.34 bars), fluid film thicknesses, and speeds (7.5, 12.5, and 17.5 krpm). The water-lubricated test bearings have eight pockets, with feed orifices located centrally in each pocket. Experimental results are compared to predictions from a bulk-flow model, showing generally good agreement. Thrust-bearing inlet supply and inner radius flow rates all decreased with decreasing orifice diameters and bearing axial clearances. In most cases, the bearings with larger orifice diameters exhibit higher recess pressure ratios, operating clearances, and flow rates. An optimum hybrid thrust-bearing orifice diameter will depend on the conditions of individual applications. Larger orifices generally provide larger operating clearances and higher stiffnesses, but also require higher flow rates. For most applications, a compromise of bearing performance parameters will be desired. The test results and comparisons presented will aid in sizing orifice diameters for future hybrid thrust-bearing designs and in validating and improving models and predictions.

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