Research Papers: Hydrodynamic Lubrication

Experimental and Numerical Studies of Cavitation Effects in a Tapered Land Thrust Bearing

[+] Author and Article Information
Yin Song

Key Laboratory for Thermal Science and
Power Engineering of Ministry of Education,
Department of Thermal Engineering,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: songyin@tsinghua.edu.cn

Xiao Ren

Key Laboratory for Thermal Science and
Power Engineering of Ministry of Education,
Department of Thermal Engineering,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: renxiaothu@gmail.com

Chun-wei Gu

Key Laboratory for Thermal Science and
Power Engineering of Ministry of Education,
Department of Thermal Engineering,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: gcw@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn

Xue-song Li

Key Laboratory for Thermal Science and
Power Engineering of Ministry of Education,
Department of Thermal Engineering,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: xs-li@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Tribology Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF TRIBOLOGY. Manuscript received August 22, 2013; final manuscript received August 6, 2014; published online August 27, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Robert L. Jackson.

J. Tribol 137(1), 011701 (Aug 27, 2014) (9 pages) Paper No: TRIB-13-1167; doi: 10.1115/1.4028264 History: Received August 22, 2013; Revised August 06, 2014

In thrust bearings, cavitation may occur at high rotational speeds or low lubricant supply pressures, and it will influence the bearing performances. In this paper, a hydrodynamic tapered land thrust bearing has been studied both experimentally and numerically, with concentration on the cavitation phenomenon and its effects on the bearing performances. Evident cavitation regions have been observed in the experiments at higher rotational speeds. Traditional Reynolds equation and 3D Navier–Stokes equation (3D NSE) with a cavitation model have been used for numerical simulation, and the predicted results are examined against the experimental results. Compared with Reynolds equation, 3D NSE with Rayleigh–Plesset model provides better predictions of both oil–film pressure profile and cavitation area. Furthermore, the effects of the cavitation phenomenon on the thrust bearing performances are studied by parametric studies involving various rotational speeds and oil feeding pressures, using 3D NSE. It is found that the load capacity decreases at higher speeds because of enlargement of the cavitation area. And the negative effects of cavitation can be reduced at smaller film thickness and higher oil supply pressure. Conclusively, the above results show that the cavitation phenomenon has significant influences on the bearing performances at higher speeds, and 3D NSE provides an effective tool for analyzing the cavitation effects in thrust bearings.

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Fig. 3

Configuration of the tested bearing

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Fig. 2

Photograph of the test rig

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Fig. 1

Diagrammatic view of the test rig

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Fig. 4

Calculation domain for NSE

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Fig. 7

3D NSE solution at 2700 rpm

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Fig. 8

3D NSE solution at 3400 rpm

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Fig. 9

3D NSE solution at 4000 rpm

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Fig. 10

Oil–film pressure profiles at R = 75 mm

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Fig. 11

Contour of gas volume fraction at intermediate radius

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Fig. 5

Flow visualization at different rotational speeds

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Fig. 6

Oil–film pressure profiles at different speeds at R = 75 mm (experimental results and traditional solutions)

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Fig. 12

Contour of gas volume fraction at 2000 rpm

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Fig. 14

Contours of gas volume fraction at different speeds (h0 = 240 μm)

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Fig. 15

Variations of load with speed at different oil supply pressures (h0 = 240 μm)

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Fig. 13

Variations of load with speed for different minimum film thicknesses



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