The use of gas bearings has increased over the past several decades to include microturbines, air cycle machines, and hermetically sealed compressors and turbines. Gas bearings have many advantages over traditional bearings, such as rolling element or oil lubricated fluid film bearings, including longer life, ability to use the process fluid, no contamination of the process with lubricants, accommodating high shaft speeds, and operation over a wide range of temperatures. Unlike fluid film bearings that utilize oil, gas lubricated bearings generate very little damping from the gas itself. Therefore, successful bearing designs such as foil bearings utilize damping features on the bearing to improve the damping generated. Similar to oil bearings, gas bearing designers strive to develop gas bearings with good rotordynamic stability. Gas bearings are challenging to design, requiring a fully coupled thermo-elastic, hydrodynamic analysis including complex nonlinear mechanisms such as Coulomb friction. There is a surprisingly low amount of rotordynamic force coefficient measurement in the literature despite the need to verify the model predictions and the stability of the bearing. This paper describes the development and testing of a 60,000 rpm gas bearing test rig and presents measured stiffness and damping coefficients for a 57 mm foil type bearing. The design of the rig overcomes many challenges in making this measurement by developing a patented, high-frequency, high-amplitude shaker system, resulting in excitation over most of the subsynchronous range.
Development of a High Speed Gas Bearing Test Rig to Measure Rotordynamic Force Coefficients
Moore, J. J., Lerche, A., Allison, T., Ransom, D. L., and Lubell, D. (May 6, 2011). "Development of a High Speed Gas Bearing Test Rig to Measure Rotordynamic Force Coefficients." ASME. J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. October 2011; 133(10): 102504. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4002865
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