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Metal Mesh Foil Bearing: Effect of Motion Amplitude, Rotor Speed, Static Load, and Excitation Frequency on Force Coefficients

[+] Author Affiliations
Luis San Andrés, Thomas Abraham Chirathadam

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Paper No. GT2011-45257, pp. 465-476; 12 pages
  • ASME 2011 Turbo Expo: Turbine Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 6: Structures and Dynamics, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 6–10, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5466-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Metal mesh foil bearings (MMFBs), simple to construct and inexpensive, are a promising bearing technology for oil-free microturbomachinery operating at high speed and high temperature. Prior research demonstrated the near friction-free operation of a MMFB operating to 60 krpm and showing substantial mechanical energy dissipation characteristics. This paper details further experimental work and reports MMFB rotordynamic force coefficients. The test rig comprises of a turbocharger driven shaft and overhung journal onto which a MMFB is installed. A soft elastic support structure akin to a squirrel cage holds the bearing, aiding to its accurate positioning relative to the journal. Two orthogonally positioned shakers excite the test element via stingers. The test bearing comprises of a cartridge holding a Copper wire mesh ring, 2.7 mm thick, and a top arcuate foil. The bearing length and inner diameter are 38 mm and 36.5 mm, respectively. Experiments were conducted with no rotation and with journal spinning at 40–50 krpm, with static loads of 22 N and 36 N acting on the bearing. Dynamic load tests spanning frequencies from 150 to 450 Hz were conducted while keeping the amplitude of bearing displacements at 20 μm, 25 μm, and 30 μm. With no journal spinning, the force coefficients represent the bearing elastic structure alone since the journal and bearing are in contact. The direct stiffnesses gradually increase with frequency while the direct damping coefficients drop quickly at low frequencies (< 200 Hz) and level off above this frequency. The damping combines both viscous and material types from the gas film and mesh structure. Journal rotation induces airborne operation with a hydrodynamic gas film separating the rotor from its bearing. Hence, cross-coupled stiffness coefficients appear though with magnitudes lower than those of the direct stiffnesses. The direct stiffnesses, 0.4 to 0.6 MN/m within 200–400 Hz, are slightly lower in magnitude as those obtained without journal rotation suggesting the air film stiffness is quite high. Bearing direct stiffnesses are inversely proportional to the bearing motion amplitudes, whereas the direct equivalent viscous damping coefficients do not show any noticeable variation. All measurements evidence a test bearing system with material loss factor (γ) ∼ 1.0, indicating significant mechanical energy dissipation ability.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Force , Metals , Motion , Stress , Bearings , Rotors



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