The design and experimental evaluation of a series-hybrid thrust bearing, consisting of a 150-mm ball bearing and a centrifugally actuated, conical, fluid-film bearing, is presented. Tests were conducted up to 16 000 rpm and at this speed an axial load of 15 600 N (3500 lb) was safely supported by the hybrid bearing system. Through the series-hybrid bearing principle, the effective ball bearing speed was reduced to approximately one-half of the shaft speed. A speed reduction of this magnitude would result in a tenfold increase in the ball bearing fatigue life. A successful evaluation of fluid-film bearing lubricant supply failure was performed repeatedly at an operating speed of 10 000 rpm. A complete and smooth changeover to full-scale ball bearing operation was effected when the oil supply to the fluid-film bearing was cut off. Reactivation of the fluid-film oil supply system produced a flawless return to the original mode of hybrid operation.

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