Fixed-Geometry, Hydrodynamic Bearing With Enhanced Stability Characteristics
Swanson, E.E., 2005
Tribology Transactions, 48, pp. 82-92.
This article presents the results of a successful bearing optimization study aimed at identifying a fixed-geometry, hydrodynamic journal bearing that does not suffer from the low load instability typical of this class of bearings. This goal was met through optimization of a fairly simple objective function based on the rigid rotor whirl-speed ratio, using a constrained, nonlinear algorithm based on sequential quadratic programming. In the interests of reducing computational time, a two-dimensional isoviscous formulation of the Reynolds equation was used for this work. The equation was solved using a finite element approach.This article includes a discussion of the optimization approach, the finite element solution approach, the resulting bearing design, and its performance characteristics. It concludes with an application example comparing the optimized bearing’s predicted performance to a tilting-pad bearing’s predicted performance for a centrifugal compressor-like rotor. The mismatch between shaft and bearing stiffness due to the rigid rotor optimization makes the optimized bearing less desirable from an unbalance response point of view. However, the optimized bearing is shown to have very good stability characteristics, which compare favorably to a tilting-pad bearing.