Development of aerodynamic bearing support for application in air cycle machines

Jiří Šimek, P. Lindovský


Air cycle machines (ACM) are used in environmental control system of aircrafts to manage pressurization of the cabin. The aim of this work is to gain theoretical and experimental data enabling replacement of rolling bearings, which require lubrication and have limited operating speed, with aerodynamic bearing support. Aerodynamic bearings do not pollute process air and at the same time allow achieving higher operating speed, thus enabling to reduce machine mass and dimensions. A test stand enabling the verification of aerodynamic bearing support properties for prospective ACM was designed, manufactured and tested with operating speeds up to 65 000 rpm. Some interesting features of the test stand design and the test results are presented. A smaller test stand with operating speed up to 100 000 rpm is in design stage.


air cycle machine; aerodynamic bearings; foil bearings; titling pad journal bearings; elastically supported pads; spiral groove thrust bearings; rotor stability

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