Gas bearings in microturbomachinery (MTM) offer significant system level benefits, such as improved fuel efficiency, reduction in weight and number of components, extending life cycle and maintenance intervals, and reducing NOX emissions with a lower CO2 footprint. Emerging opportunities for gas bearings applications range from automotive turbochargers to engines for business jet aircraft, for example. Gas bearings, because of the inherently low gas viscosity, have low damping relative to oil-lubricated bearings and are prone to wear during rotor start-up and shut down procedures. The lack of damping brings concerns about rotor-gas bearing system robustness and endurance to tolerate shock induced loads, sudden while landing in jet engines, or intermittent in vehicles while moving across a rough terrain, for example. The paper demonstrates the reliability of a hybrid gas bearing system from rotor vibration measurements induced by sporadic shock loads acting on the base of a test rig and while the rotor is coasting down from a top speed of 60 krpm (1000 Hz). In the tests, (1) an electromagnetic pusher delivers impacts to the rig base, or (2) the whole rig is manually tilted and dropped. The test rig consists of a rigid rotor, 0.825 kg and 28.6 mm in diameter, supported on two flexure pivot tilting pad type, hybrid gas bearings, each with four pads and 60% pivot offset and 0.6 mm feeding holes. The bearings are supplied with feed pressures of 2.36, 3.72, and 5.08 bar (ab). Intermittent shocks, up to 30 g pk-pk and exciting a broad frequency range to 400 Hz, produce a remarkable momentary increase of the overall rotor response amplitude, up to 50 μm (pk-pk). The shocks readily excite the fundamental natural frequency of the rotor-bearing system (150–200 Hz), and on occasion the natural frequency (40 Hz) of the whole test rig. For operation at rotor speeds above the system critical speed, the rotor synchronous response is isolated; with transient motions induced by a shock, subsynchronous in whirl frequency, quickly disappearing. Full recovery takes place in ∼0.10 second. The measurements demonstrate that the hybrid gas bearings have enough damping to rapidly attenuate rotor transient motions and to dissipate the energy induced from intermittent shocks. Note that the shocks acted while the rotor traversed its critical speeds. The reliability of engineered gas bearings to forced transient events is no longer in question.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.