This paper describes findings obtained to date in the area of journal gas bearings from an experimental study of a Brayton cycle turbocompressor designed for the requirements of a two-shaft 10-kw space power system. The journal bearing design utilizes three pads pivoted on conforming balls and sockets. Two of the pivots are rigidly mounted to the frame, and the third pivot is mounted to the frame through a low-spring-rate diaphragm. This paper describes the salient package and bearing design features and then presents the principal results obtained from testing the package in both a spin calibration rig and operation at design temperature conditions with an inert gas. The results discussed include (a) the successful use of a pneumatic loading device to vary pad load during operation, (b) the operating characteristics of the bearings as obtained over a range of pad loads and ambient conditions, (c) structural and dynamic behavior of the bearing-support system during design temperature operation and (d) a discussion of the wear characteristics of the conforming ball-and-socket pivot as obtained from the tests made to date.

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