Abstract

Aerostatic journal bearings with porous tilting pads enable shaft support with minute drag power losses. To date archival information on the static and dynamic load performance of this bearing type is scant. Thus, the paper presents measurements conducted with an air lubricated bearing with diameter d = 102 mm and comprising four tilting pads made of porous carbon-graphite, each with length L = 76 mm. Two nested Belleville washers resting on spherical pivots support each pad. At ambient temperature of ∼ 21 °C, as the air supply pressure into the bearing pads increases, so does the bearing aerostatic specific load (F/(L·d)) that reaches 58% of the pressure difference, supply minus ambient. With an air supply pressure of 7.8 bar(a), the test bearing static stiffness KS = 13.1 MN/m, is independent of both shaft speed and static load. KS is just 63% of the washers' stiffness KP = 20.6 MN/m (during loading). While operating with shaft speeds equal to 6 krpm and 9 krpm (150 Hz) and under specific loads to 115 kPa and 101 kPa, respectively, dynamic load experiments with excitation frequencies up to 342 Hz show the test bearing supplied with air at 7.8 bar(a) has frequency independent stiffness (K) and damping (C) coefficients. For rotor speeds equaling 0, 6 and 9 krpm, the bearing direct stiffnesses KXX ∼ KYY range from 13.6 MN/m to 32.7 MN/m as the specific load increases from 0 kPa to 115 kPa. The direct damping coefficients CXX ∼ CYY are as large as 5.8 kN·s/m, though having a large experimental uncertainty. Bearing cross-coupled force coefficients are insignificant. The test porous gas bearing reached its intended load capacity, demonstrated a dynamically stable operation and produced force coefficients mainly affected by the pads' pivot supports and the magnitude of air supply pressurization.

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