A high-speed gas bearing test rig was developed to characterize rotordynamic, thermal, and thrust load performance of gas bearings being developed for an oil-free turboexpander. The radial bearings (RBs) tested in this paper were tilting pad journal bearings with radial compliance features that allow the bearing bore to increase to accommodate shaft growth, and the thrust bearings (TBs) were a spiral groove type with axial compliance features. The TB accounts for over 90% of the combined bearing power consumption, which has a cubic relationship with speed and increases with case pressure. RB circumferential pad temperatures increased approximately with speed to the fourth or fifth power, with slightly higher temperature rise for lower case pressure. Maximum steady-state bearing pad temperatures increase with increasing speed for similar cooling mass flow rates; however, only the TB showed a significant increase in temperature with higher case pressure. The TBs were stable at all speeds, but the load capacity was found to be lower than anticipated, apparently due to pad deformations caused by radial temperature gradients in the stator. More advanced modeling approaches have been proposed to better understand the TB thermal behavior and to improve the TB design. Finally, the RBs tested were demonstrated to be stable up to the design speed of 130 krpm, which represents the highest surface speed for tilting pad gas bearings tested in the literature.
A Rotordynamic, Thermal, and Thrust Load Performance Gas Bearing Test Rig and Test Results for Tilting Pad Journal Bearings and Spiral Groove Thrust Bearings
Contributed by the Structures and Dynamics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received June 21, 2016; final manuscript received July 14, 2017; published online August 16, 2017. Editor: David Wisler.
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Rimpel, A. M., Vannini, G., and Kim, J. (August 16, 2017). "A Rotordynamic, Thermal, and Thrust Load Performance Gas Bearing Test Rig and Test Results for Tilting Pad Journal Bearings and Spiral Groove Thrust Bearings." ASME. J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power. December 2017; 139(12): 122501. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4037315
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