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Investigation of the Gas Flow in the Rolling Element Bearing Assembly of a Centrifugal Compressor

[+] Author Affiliations
Michael M. Cui

TRANE Air Conditioning, La Crosse, WI

Paper No. GT2005-69097, pp. 1273-1280; 8 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2005: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 3: Turbo Expo 2005, Parts A and B
  • Reno, Nevada, USA, June 6–9, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4726-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3754-8
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Combined with the geometric features, the pressure differential and bearing motion define the gas flow through the rolling-element-bearing assembly of a centrifugal compressor. The gas flow field then affects the oil distribution and heat transfer characteristics of the assembly accordingly. Investigations of the refrigerant gas flow through the rolling element bearing assembly of a centrifugal compressor are presented. A series of cases are studied for different operating conditions. The analyses include the geometric details of the assembly, such as the shaft, races, cages, balls, oil feeding system, and surrounding components. Refrigerant R123 is used as the working fluid. Both detailed three-dimensional flow field features and integrated parameters are calculated. The interactions between bearing motion and the surrounding structures are characterized. The flow patterns inside the bearings are defined. These results help us gain an insight into the basic physics that governs the bearing internal mass and heat transfer. The data and techniques developed can be used to design and optimize bearing and oil supply systems for the improvement of lubrication and cooling efficiency.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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