Abstract

Foil bearings are strong candidates to support oil-free turbomachinery. Although foil bearings are a widely used technology, models describing their behavior are not validated using the film pressure, which is the fundamental variable of any fluid film bearing. This paper presents pressure profiles measured within the gas film of a journal foil bearing. The pressure is measured using an instrumented rotor with embedded pressure probes and wireless telemetry. The measurements yield the simultaneous circumferential pressure profiles at two axial positions inside the bearing. Proximity probes on the bearing allowed the measurement of the corresponding rotor orbits. The bearing under investigation is a bump type compliant journal bearing, with a nominal diameter of 40mm, an L/D = 1, and was tested up to 37.5 krpm. Load-displacement and break-away tests were performed on the test bearing in order to identify bearing parameters necessary for reproducibility. The pressure profiles are compared to a frequency domain foil bearing model. This paper is a step towards further fundamental understanding of the foil bearing behavior, and the validation of the rich modelling literature.

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