Structural Stiffness, Dry Friction Coefficient, and Equivalent Viscous Damping in a Bump-Type Foil Gas Bearing Academic Article uri icon


  • High performance oil-free turbomachinery implements gas foil bearings (FBs) to improve mechanical efficiency in compact units. FB design, however, is still largely empirical due to its mechanical complexity. The paper provides test results for the structural parameters in a bump-type foil bearing. The stiffness and damping (Coulomb or viscous type) coefficients characterize the bearing compliant structure. The test bearing, 38.1 mm in diameter and length, consists of a thin top foil supported on bump-foil strips. A prior investigation identified the stiffness due to static loads. Presently, the test FB is mounted on a non-rotating stiff shaft and a shaker exerts single frequency loads on the bearing. The dynamic tests are conducted at shaft surface temperatures from 25 to 75°C. Time and frequency domain methods are implemented to determine the FB parameters from the recorded periodic load and bearing motions. Both methods deliver identical parameters. The dry friction coefficient ranges from 0.05 to 0.20, increasing as the amplitude of load increases. The recorded motions evidence a resonance at the system natural frequency, i.e., null damping. The test derived equivalent viscous damping is inversely proportional to the motion amplitude and excitation frequency. The characteristic stick-slip of dry friction is dominant at small amplitude dynamic loads leading to a hardening effect (stiffening) of the FB structure. The operating temperature produces shaft growth generating a bearing preload. However, the temperature does not significantly affect the identified FB parameters, albeit the experimental range was too small considering the bearings intended use in industry. Copyright © 2007 by ASME.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rubio, D., & San Andres, L.

citation count

  • 46

publication date

  • February 2006