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Title: Static, dynamic and levitation characteristics of squeeze film air journal bearing : designing, modelling, simulation and fluid solid interaction
Author: Wang, Chao
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 0301
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2011
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Bearings today need to be able to run at very high speed, providing high positional accuracy for the structure that it supports, and requiring very little or no maintenance. For this to happen, bearings must have tight tolerances and very low or zero friction during operation. This pushes many traditional contact-type bearings to their limits as they often fail due to friction, generating heat and causing wear. By comparison, existing non-contact bearings fare better because of their very low or zero friction. But some have their own problem too. For example, the fact that aerostatic bearings require an air supply means having to use a separate air compressor and connecting hoses. This makes the installation bulky. Aerodynamic and hydrodynamic bearings cannot support loads at zero speed. Both hydrodynamic and hydrostatic bearings may cause contamination to the work-pieces and the work environment because of the use of lubricating fluid. A potential solution to the above-mentioned problems is the new squeeze film air bearing. It works on the rapid squeeze action of an air film to produce separation between two metal surfaces. This has the benefit of being compact with a very simple configuration because it does not require an external pressurized air supply, can support loads at zero speed and is free of contamination. For this research, two squeeze film air journal bearings, made from material of Al 2024 - T3 and Cu - C101 with the same geometry, were designed. The bearing is in the shape of a round tube with three fins on the outer surface and the journal, a round rod. When excited at a certain normal mode, the bearing shell flexes with a desirable modal shape for the squeeze film action. The various modes of vibration of Al bearing were obtained from a finite-element model implemented in ANSYS. Two Modes, the 13th and 23rd, at the respective frequencies of 16.320 kHz and 25.322 kHz, were identified for further investigation by experiments with respect to the squeeze film thickness and its load-carrying capacity. For Cu bearing, the two Modes are also 13th and 23rd at the respective frequencies of 12.184 kHz and 18.459 kHz. In order to produce dynamic deformation of the bearings at their modes, a single layer piezoelectric actuator was used as a driver. The maximum stroke length and the maximum blocking force of the single layer piezoelectric actuator were determined using manual calculation and ANSYS simulation. In the coupled-field analysis, the single layer piezoelectric actuator was mounted on the outside surface of the bearing shell and loaded with an AC and a DC voltage in order to produce the static and dynamic deformation. For the static analysis, the maximum deformation of Al bearing shell is 0.124 μm when the actuators are driven at the DC of 75 V. For the dynamic analysis, the actuators are driven at three levels of AC, namely 55, 65 and 75V with a constant DC offset of 75V and the driving frequency coincided with the modal frequency of the bearing. The maximum dynamic deformation of Al bearing shell is 3.22μm at Mode 13 and 2.08μm at Mode 23 when the actuators were driven at the AC of 75 V and the DC of 75 V. Similarly, the FEA simulation was used for analyzing Cu bearing. Furthermore, the dynamic deformation of both Al and Cu bearing at Mode 13 and 23 are validated by experiments. This research developed two theoretical models that explain the existence of a net pressure in a squeeze film for the levitation. The first model uses the ideal gas law as first approximation whilst the second uses the CFX simulation to provide a more exact explanation. In terms of the load-carrying capacity, Mode 13 was identified to be better than Mode 23 for both bearings. However, at Mode 13, Al bearing has a higher load-carrying capacity than Cu bearing. This is due to Al bearing having a higher modal frequency and amplitude. Finally, the coupled-field analysis for fluid solid interaction (FSI) was studied at both Mode 13 and 23 for Al bearing. The findings are that: a) the fluid force in the squeeze film can affect the dynamic deformation of the bearing shell, especially at high oscillation frequency, more at Mode 13 than at Mode 23 due to the relatively high pressure end-leakage in the latter; b) the dynamic deformation of the bearing shell increases with the gap clearance in a logarithmic manner at Mode 13; and c) the micron levels of gap clearance provide a damping effect on the dynamic deformation of the bearing shell at Mode 13 and at Mode 23, though much less dominant.
Supervisor: Au, Y. H. J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Piezoelectric actuator ; Reynolds equation ; Mode shape ; Load capacity