Metal mesh foil bearings (MMFB) are an inexpensive compliant gas bearing type that aims to enable high speed, high temperature operation of small turbomachinery. A MMFB with an inner diameter of 28.00 mm and length of 28.05 mm is constructed with low cost and common materials. The bearing incorporates a copper mesh ring, 20% in compactness and offering large material damping, beneath a 0.127mm thick preformed top foil. Prior experimentation (published papers) provide the bearing structure force coefficients and the break away torque for bearing lift off. Presently, the MMFB replaces a compressor in a small turbocharger driven test rig. Impact load tests aid to identify the direct and cross-coupled rotor dynamic force coefficients of the floating MMFB while operating at a speed of 50 krpm. Tests conducted with and without shaft rotation show the MMFB direct stiffness is less than its structural (static) stiffness, ∼25% lower at an excitation frequency of 200 Hz. The thin air film acting in series with the metal mesh support, and separating the rotating shaft and the bearing inner surface while airborne, reduces the bearing stiffness. The equivalent viscous damping is nearly identical with and without shaft rotation. The identified loss factor, best representing the hysteretic type damping from the metal mesh, is high at ∼0.50 in the frequency range 0–200 Hz. This magnitude reveals large mechanical energy dissipation ability from the MMFB. The measurements also show appreciable cross directional motions from the unidirectional impact loads, thus generating appreciable cross coupled force coefficients. Rotor speed coast down measurements reveal pronounced subsynchronous whirl motion amplitudes locked at distinct frequencies. The MMFB stiffness hardening nonlinearity produces the rich frequency forced response. The synchronous as well as subsynchronous motions peak while the shaft traverses its critical speeds. The measurements establish reliable operation of the test MMFB while airborne.

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