Heavily Loaded Gas Foil Bearings: A Model Anchored to Test Data Academic Article uri icon


  • Widespread usage of gas foil bearings (FBs) into microturbomachinery to midsize gas turbine engines requires accurate performance predictions anchored to reliable test data. This paper presents a simple yet accurate model predicting the static and dynamic force characteristics of gas FBs. The analysis couples the Reynolds equation for a thin gas film to a simple elastic foundation model for the top fail and bump strip layer An exact flow advection model is adopted to solve the partial differential equations for the zeroth- and first-order pressure fields that render the FB load capacity and frequency-dependent force coefficients. As the static load imposed on the foil bearing increases, predictions show that the journal center displaces to eccentricities exceeding the bearing nominal clearance. A nearly constant FB static stiffness, independent of journal speed, is estimated for operation with large loads, and approaching closely the bearing structural stiffness derived from contact operation without rotor spinning. Predicted minimum film thickness and journal attitude angle demonstrate good agreement with archival test data for a first-generation gas FB. The bump-foil-strip structural loss factor exemplifying a dry-friction dissipation mechanism, aids to largely enhance the bearing direct damping force coefficients. At high loads, the bump-foil structure influences most the stiffness and damping coefficients. The predictions demonstrate that FBs have greatly different static and dynamic force characteristics when operating at journal eccentricities in excess of the bearing clearance from those obtained for operation at low loads, i.e., small journal eccentricity. Copyright © 2008 by ASME.

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, T. H., & San Andrés, L.

citation count

  • 64

publication date

  • January 2008