Abstract

The following paper presents breakthrough experimental results for a new hermetic squeeze film damper (HSFD) concept that is integrally designed within an externally pressurized tilting-pad radial gas bearing support. The flexibly damped gas bearing module was designed for a 7.2″ (183 mm) diameter shaft and fabricated using direct metal laser melting (DMLM); also known as additive manufacturing. The bearing and HSFD were sized based on ongoing studies for oil-free supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) power turbines in the 8.5 MW–10 MW power range. The development of the new damper concept was motivated by past dynamic testing on HSFD, which generated frequency-dependent stiffness and damping force coefficients. In efforts to eliminate the frequency dependency, a new HSFD architecture was conceived that adds accumulator volumes and a pass-through channel to previously conceived HSFD flow network designs. The other motivation for the work is the need to develop a cost-effective and reliable oil-free bearing technology that is scalable to large power turbomachinery applications. There were several objectives for the following work. The first objective was to successfully design and fabricate a single piece bearing-damper using additive manufacturing, while dimensionally controlling critical design features. The paper discusses the manufacturing steps and shows cut-ups that reveal adequate clearance control capability with internal damper clearances. The second objective was to perform experimental testing with the new HSFD design in efforts to extract stiffness and damping coefficients for excitation frequencies within 20–160 Hz and peak vibration amplitudes between 0.25 mils (6.35 microns) to 1 mil (25.4 microns). The test results for a single HSFD bearing module indicated that the design modifications to the HSFD architecture were successful in eliminating nearly all the frequency dependencies for the stiffness force coefficient. The dynamic tests yielded a stiffness coefficient that varied between 112 klb/in. (19.6 MN/m) and 96 klb/in. (16.8 MN/m). The damping force coefficient however, exhibited relatively more variation with frequency with values residing between 175 lb-s/in. (31 kN-s/m) to 214 lb-s/in. (37 kN-s/m). Finally, the paper advances a three-dimensional fluid-structure interaction (FSI) model using transient finite element analysis (FEA) coupled to a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model. The FSI analysis performed between 20 Hz and 80 Hz was used to predict the stiffness and damping of the HSFD using a quarter-section model of the damper. The FSI analysis was able to support test results by showing only a 6–7.4% change in the magnitude of force coefficients. Stiffness predictions agree reasonably well with experiments whereas damping is underpredicted.

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