The objective of this investigation was to determine the effect of housing support on bearing performance and dynamics. In order to achieve the objective, an existing dynamic bearing model (DBM) was coupled with flexible housing model to include the effect of support structure on bearing dynamics and performance. The DBM is based on the discrete element method, in which the bearing components are assumed to be rigid. To achieve the coupling, a novel algorithm was developed to detect contact conditions between the housing support and bearing outer race and then calculate contact forces based on the penalty method. It should be noted that although commercial finite element (FE) software such as abaqus is available to model flexible housings, combining these codes with a bearing model is quite difficult since the data transfer between the two model packages is time-consuming. So, a three-dimensional (3D) explicit finite element method (EFEM) was developed to model the bearing support structure for both linear elastic and nonlinear inelastic elastomeric materials. The constitutive relationship for elastomeric material is based on an eight chain model, which captures hyperelastic behavior of rubber for large strains. The viscoelastic property is modeled by using the generalized Maxwell-element rheological model to exhibit rate-dependent behaviors, such as creep and hysteresis on cyclic loading. The results of this investigation illustrate that elastomeric material as expected has large damping to reduce vibration and absorb energy, which leads to a reduction in ball–race contact forces and friction. A parametric study confirmed that the viscoelastic stress (VS) contributes significantly to the performance of the material, and without proper amount of viscoelasticity it loses its advantage in vibration reduction and exhibits linear elastic material characteristics. As expected, it is also demonstrated that housing supports made of linear elastic material provide minimal damping and rely on the bearing friction to dissipate energy. A study of housing support geometry demonstrates that bearing support plays a large role on the dynamic performance of the bearing. Motion of bearing outer race is closely related to the geometry and symmetry of the housing.

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