DESIGN AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF HYDROSTATIC THRUST AIR FOIL BEARING
Song, Myong Sok
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Oil-free bearing technology has several advantages over conventional oil-lubricated bearings. These advantages include high-speed operation, reduced weight, and increased reliability. Consequently, oil-free technology is expected to replace conventional bearings in a variety of applications. However, many challenges need to be addressed for widespread adoption of oil-free technology such as lower load capacity during start/stop and issues with controlling temperature. Thrust bearings, unlike their radial counterparts, are used for supporting axial loads and have become more important in recent years because of layout requirements other than double overhang configuration gaining consideration for specialized applications. Moreover, the requirements are demanding more extreme condition such as higher load capacity and temperature management. To address the challenge of listed problems, a new hydrostatic type of the thrust air foil bearing with 154mm outer diameter is introduced. Pressurized air is injected through 32 orifices which enable not only higher load carrying capacity during start/stop but also enhanced thermal management because of cooling effect. The test result of flat air bearing, damaged air foil bearing, and simple theoretical result will be shown and compared with the experimental results. The load capacity of the hydrostatic thrust foil bearing was found to be 1.5 kN (static), and it has an meaningful improvement compare to hydrodynamic and hydrostatic flat air bearing. Due to the experiment, this approach of hydrostatic air foil thrust bearings can be used extensively in the turbomachinery area without using oil under heavy load and high-temperature situation.