Load Capacity Estimation of Foil Air Journal Bearings for Oil-Free Turbomachinery

Report No. ARL-TR-2334
Authors: Corte, Christopher D.; Valco, Mark J.
Date/Pages: October 2000; 19 pages
Abstract: This paper introduces a simple 'Rule of Thumb' (ROT) method to estimate the load capacity of foil air journal bearings, which are self-acting compliant-surface hydrodynamic bearings being considered for Oil-Free turbomachinery applications such as gas turbine engines. The ROT is based on first principles and data available in the literature and it relates bearing load capacity to the bearing size and speed through an empirically based load capacity coefficient, D. It is shown that load capacity is a linear function of bearing surface velocity and bearing projected area. Furthermore, it was found that the load capacity coefficient, D, is related to the design features of the bearing compliant members and operating conditions (speed and ambient temperature). Early bearing designs with basic or 'first generation' compliant support elements have relatively low load capacity More advanced bearings, in which the compliance of the support structure is tailored, have load capacities up to five times those of simpler designs. The ROT enables simplified load capacity estimation for foil air journal bearings and can guide development of new Oil-Free turbomachinery systems.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2000