Analysis of gas foil bearings integrating FE top foil models Academic Article uri icon


  • Gas foil bearings (GFBs) find widespread usage in oil-free turbo expanders, APUs, and micro gas turbines for distributed power due to their low drag friction and ability to tolerate high-level vibrations. The performance of GFBs depends largely on the support elastic structure, i.e. a smooth foil on top of bump strips. Conventional models include only the bumps as equivalent stiffnesses uniformly distributed around the bearing circumference. More complex finite element (FE) models couple the elastic deformations of the 2D shell or 1D beam-like top foil to the bump deflections as well as to the gas film hydrodynamics. Predictions of journal attitude angle and minimum film thickness for increasing static loads and two journal speeds are obtained for a GFB tested decades ago. For the GFB studied, 2D FE model predictions overestimate the minimum film thickness at the bearing centerline, while underestimating it at the bearing edges. Predictions from the 1D FE model compare best to the limited tests data, reproducing closely the experimental circumferential wavy-like film thickness profile. Predicted stiffness and damping coefficients versus excitation frequency show that the two FE models result in slightly lower direct stiffness and damping coefficients than those from the simple elastic foundation model. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Andres, L. S., & Kim, T. H.

citation count

  • 79

complete list of authors

  • Andres, Luis San||Kim, Tae Ho

publication date

  • January 2009