An experimental study of the hydrodynamic force response of a squeeze-film bearing damper with end seals was carried out. Measurements of the pressure distribution about a journal constrained to move in a circular orbit were made for the journal orbit centered in the annular clearance and offset from the center of the annular clearance. The effects of cyclic flow in a radial inlet were studied for the case of the journal orbit centered in the annular clearance. For the off-center case the pressure distribution around the damper was measured for four different combinations of eccentricity, radial velocity, and angular velocity of the line of centers, chosen in such a way as to allow calculation of the four bearing coefficients defined by Tondl. The experimentally determined pressure distributions were numerically integrated to determine the force components of the squeeze film. The results are compared to the “long bearing” and the “short bearing” solutions of Reynolds’ equation. For the centered case, good agreement was found with the shape of the “long bearing” solution. Higher-than-predicted pressures and forces for light viscosity oil are explained by showing that this case is operating in the Taylor vortex flow regime. Similar calculations indicate that turbine dampers can also operate with vortex or turbulent flow.

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