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Assessment of Porous Type Gas Bearings: Measurements of Bearing Performance and Rotor Vibrations

[+] Author Affiliations
Luis San Andrés, Travis A. Cable, Yong Zheng

Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Oscar De Santiago

ETU-Especialistas en Turbopartes, Querétaro, Mexico

Drew Devitt

New Way Air Bearings, Aston, PA

Paper No. GT2016-57876, pp. V07BT31A031; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2016: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 7B: Structures and Dynamics
  • Seoul, South Korea, June 13–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4984-2
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Gas bearings are an attractive means of load support for rotating machinery due to their low mechanical power losses and dispensing of expensive lubrication systems. A subset of gas bearing technology, porous type gas bearings utilize a porous material as a means of feeding externally pressurized gas (typically air) to the bearing clearance region. When compared to typical orifice type hydrostatic bearings, porous bearings distribute pressurized gas more uniformly into the film clearance, thus resulting in a higher load capacity for similar flow rates [1]. The majority of the literature on porous type gas bearings focuses on the numerical evaluation of cylindrical bushings, yet experimental data on their performance is scant. As a follow up to Ref. [2], the paper presents an analysis of measurements of flow, drag torque and rotordynamic response of a large (100 mm OD, ∼275 N) rotor supported on two tilting pad (five-pad) porous journal bearings (specific load∼19 kPa). Measurements of air mass flow into the bearings, with and without the rotor in place, show that the film clearance offers little restriction. The mass flow rate is proportional to the supply pressure and lead to an estimated permeability coefficient. In operation with various levels of supply pressure and with the rotor spinning to 8 krpm (133 Hz, surface speed ∼42 m/s), several rotordynamic response tests (masses up to 6.9 gram) show the rotor amplitude of synchronous response is proportional to the mass imbalance; hence demonstrating the system is linear. Finally, rotor speed coast down tests from 8 krpm show that the bearings offer little drag friction; and increasing the supply pressure gives to lesser drag. The measurements verify the pair of gas bearings support effectively the rigid rotor with little expense in mass flow rate delivered to them. Most importantly, while operating at 10 krpm with a large added imbalance, the system survived a seizure event with little damage to the rotor and bearings, both restored to a near pristine condition after a simple cleaning procedure.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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