Spindles with tilting pad bearings have been widely applied in machine tools due to their high running precision. However, friction power loss will increase dramatically when the bearing runs at a higher speed. So far, little research on the thermal modeling of spindle systems with tilting pad bearings can be found in literature. In this paper, based on the Newtonian law of viscosity, formula that describes the friction power loss of the tilting pad bearing has been derived. The thermodynamic equilibrium equation for the spindle lubrication system has been established. Thermal boundary condition of the spindle system has been obtained using the heat transfer theory. Thermal model of the spindle system with tilting pad bearing has been built with the finite element method in order to calculate its temperature and thermal displacement distribution. Effects of the eccentricity ratio and the lubricant flow rate on thermodynamic behavior of the spindle system have been studied systematically. Finally, experiments have been conducted to verify the proposed thermal model for the spindle system with tilting pad bearing.

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