Esser, Paul R. (2010-05). Measurements versus Predictions for a Hybrid (Hydrostatic plus Hydrodynamic Thrust Bearing for a Range of Orifice Diameters. Master's Thesis.
A fixed geometry hybrid thrust bearing is investigated with three different supply orifice diameters. The test rig uses a face-to-face thrust bearing design, with the test bearing acting as the rotor loading mechanism. A hydraulic shaker applies the static axial load, which is reacted by a second thrust bearing. The rotor is supported radially by two water-lubricated fluid film journal bearings and is attached to a 30,600 rpm motor via a high speed coupling with very low axial stiffness. Thrust bearings with three different orifice diameters (1.63, 1.80, and 1.93 mm) are tested for a range of supply pressures, fluid film thicknesses, and rotational speeds. The water-lubricated test bearings have eight pockets, with feed orifices located centrally in each pocket. Experimental results are comparted to predictions found using bulk flow model HYDROTHRUST. Analysis of the data reveals generally good agreements between predictions and measurements. Thrust-bearing inlet supply and inner radius flow rates all decreased with decreasing orifice diameters and bearing axial clearances. In most cases, the bearings with larger orifice diameters exhibit higher recess pressure ratios, operating clearances, and flow rates. The largest orifice diameter configuration does not display higher recess pressure ratios or operating clearances at high speeds for some supply pressures, but it does continue to require additional lubricant flow rate compared to the smaller orifice bearings. In these cases, the results are not reflected in predictions, which otherwise correlate very well with experimental measurements. Estimations of static loading axial stiffness are obtained using experimental results. An optimum hybrid thrust bearing orifice diameter will depend on the conditions of individual applications. Larger orifices generally provide larger operating clearances and higher stiffnesses, but also require higher flow rates. For most applications, a compromise of bearing performance parameters will be desired. The test results and comparisons presented will aid in sizing orifice diameters for future hybrid thrust bearing designs.