Foil air bearings are self-acting hydrodynamic bearings which rely upon solid lubricants to reduce friction and minimize wear during sliding which occurs at start-up and shut-down when surface speeds are too low to allow the formation of a hydrodynamic air film. This solid lubrication is typically accomplished by coating the nonmoving foil surface with a thin, soft polymeric film. The following paper introduces a systems approach in which the solid lubrication is provided by a combination of self lubricating shaft coatings coupled with various wear resistant and lubricating foil coatings. The use of multiple materials, each providing different functions is modeled after oil-lubricated hydrodynamic sleeve bearing technology which utilizes various coatings and surface treatments in conjunction with oil lubricants to achieve optimum performance. In this study, room temperature load capacity tests are performed on journal foil air bearings operating at 14,000 rpm. Different shaft and foil coating technologies such as plasma sprayed composites, ceramic, polymer and inorganic lubricant coatings are evaluated as foil bearing lubricants. The results indicate that bearing performance is improved through the individual use of the lubricants and treatments tested. Further, combining several solid lubricants together yielded synergistically better results than any material alone.
A Systems Approach to the Solid Lubrication of Foil Air Bearings for Oil-Free Turbomachinery
Contributed by the Tribology Division of THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERS for presentation at the STLE/ASME Joint International Tribology Conference, Ponte Vedra, FL October 26–29, 2003. Manuscript received by the Tribology Division January 24, 2003; revised manuscript received July 1, 2003. Associate Editor: L. San Andre´s.
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DellaCorte , C., Zaldana, A. R., and Radil, K. C. (January 13, 2004). "A Systems Approach to the Solid Lubrication of Foil Air Bearings for Oil-Free Turbomachinery ." ASME. J. Tribol. January 2004; 126(1): 200–207. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1609485
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