Numerical Calculations of Pressure Distribution in the Bearing Clearance of Circular Aerostatic Thrust Bearings With a Single Air Supply Inlet

[+] Author and Article Information
Shigeka Yoshimoto

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo University of Science, 1-3 Kagurazaka Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8601, Japanyosimoto@rs.kagu.tus.ac.jp

Makoto Yamamoto

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Tokyo University of Science, 1-3 Kagurazaka Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8601, Japanyamamoto@rs.kagu.tus.ac.jp

Kazuyuki Toda

Department of Disaster System Science, Chiba Institute of Science, 3 Shiomi-cho Choshi-city, Chiba 288-0025, Japanktoda@cis.ac.jp

J. Tribol 129(2), 384-390 (Dec 11, 2006) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2464135 History: Received March 22, 2006; Revised December 11, 2006

This paper describes the pressure distribution in the bearing clearance of circular aerostatic thrust bearings with a single air supply inlet. For high air supply pressure, large bearing clearance, and a relatively small bearing outer radius, it was believed that shock waves are caused and that a complex fluid flow structure is formed in the bearing clearance. Accordingly, analytical models based on the occurrence of shock wave in the bearing clearance have been proposed. Recently, very small aerostatic bearings have been used in various machine devices where the pressure distribution near the air inlets has a large influence on the bearing characteristics due to a short distance between air inlets and the bearing edge. In order to predict various bearing characteristics accurately for these kinds of bearings, a proper analytical model has to be established. However, it is very difficult to obtain the detailed information about the flow structure from flow visualization because of a very thin bearing clearance. Therefore, we calculated the flow field using computational fluid dynamics, which can solve the Navier-Stokes equations directly. It was found that the airflow just after entering the bearing clearance becomes turbulent in a region where relatively rapid pressure recovery occurs and that no shock wave is generated at the boundary between subsonic and supersonic flow. In addition, the numerical results presented show good agreement with experimental data.

Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Aerostatic thrust bearing with a single inlet

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Figure 2

Grid shape used for calculations (h=80μm)

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Figure 3

Effect of bearing outer radius on the pressure distribution

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Figure 4

Experimental apparatus for measuring pressure

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Figure 5

Conceptual flow of three-region flow theory

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Figure 6

Comparison of three different theoretical calculations with experimental data

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Figure 7

Pressure distributions, velocity profiles, and Mach number contours near an inlet

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Figure 8

Pressure distribution near an inlet

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Figure 9

Effect of turbulence on the pressure distribution

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Figure 10

Calculated results considering the effect of turbulence

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Figure 11

Comparisons of the present calculated results with experimental data from Refs. 5,11



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