An Experimental Investigation into the Temperature Profile of a Compliant Foil Air Bearing
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION CLEVELAND OH GLENN RESEARCH CENTER
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A series of tests was performed to determine the internal temperature profile in a compliant bump-type foil journal air bearing operating at room temperature under various speeds and load conditions. The temperature profile was collected by instrumenting a foil bearing with nine, type K thermocouples arranged in the center and along the bearings edges in order to measure local temperatures and estimate thermal gradients in the axial and circumferential directions. To facilitate the measurement of maximum temperatures from viscous shearing in the air film, the thermocouples were tack welded to the backside of the bumps that were in direct contact with the top foil. The mating journal was coated with a high temperature solid lubricant that, together with the bearing, underwent high temperature start-stop cycles to produce a smooth, steady-state mn-in surface. Tests were conducted at speeds from 20 to 50 krpm and loads ranging from 9 to 222 N. The results indicate that, over the conditions tested, both journal rotational speed and radial load are responsible for heat generation with speed playing a more significant role in the magnitude of the temperatures. The temperature distribution was nearly symmetric about the bearing center at 20 and 30 krpm but became slightly skewed toward one side at 40 and 50 krpm. Surprisingly, the maximum temperatures did not occur at the bearing edge where the minimum film thickness is expected but rather in the middle of the bearing where analytical investigations have predicted the air film to be much thicker. Thermal gradients were common during testing and were strongest in the axial direction from the middle of the bearing to its edges, reaching 3.78 degrees Cmm. The temperature profile indicated the circumferential thermal gradients were negligible.
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