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A Comparison of the Steady-State and Dynamic Performance of First- and Second-Generation Foil Bearings

[+] Author Affiliations
M. J. Conlon, A. Dadouche, W. M. Dmochowski, R. Payette, J.-P. Bédard

National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Paper No. GT2010-23683, pp. 453-462; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2010: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 6: Structures and Dynamics, Parts A and B
  • Glasgow, UK, June 14–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4401-4 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3872-3
  • Copyright © 2010 by Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada


Oil-free foil bearing technology has advanced intermittently over the years, driven by research efforts to improve both steady-state and dynamic performance characteristics, namely: load capacity, stiffness, and damping. Bearing designs are thus classified according to “generation”, with first-generation bearings being the most primitive. This paper presents an experimental evaluation of a first- and a second-generation foil bearing, and aims to provide the high-fidelity data necessary for proper validation of theoretical predictive models of foil bearing performance. The aforementioned test bearings were fabricated in-house, and are both 70mm in diameter with an aspect ratio of 1; bearing manufacturing details are provided. The work makes use of a facility dedicated to measuring both the steady-state and dynamic properties of foil bearings under a variety of controlled operating conditions. The bearing under test is placed at the midspan of a horizontal, simply-supported, stepped shaft which rotates at up to 60krpm. Static and dynamic loads of up to 3500N and 450N (respectively) can be applied by means of a pneumatic cylinder and two electrodynamic shakers. The bearings’ structural (static) stiffnesses are highly nonlinear, and this affects the accuracy of the dynamic coefficient determination. Both dynamic stiffness and damping are found to vary nonlinearly with excitation frequency, and are over-predicted by a structural experimental evaluation — the film plays an important role in bearing dynamics. The second-generation bearing is found to have a higher load capacity, dynamic stiffness, and damping than the first-generation bearing.

Copyright © 2010 by Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada



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