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Numerical simulations for the fluid-thermal-structural interaction lubrication in a tilting pad thrust bearing

Liming Zhai (Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Yongyao Luo (Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Xin Liu (Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Funan Chen (State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Yexiang Xiao (Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)
Zhengwei Wang (Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 12 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze lubrication characteristics of a tilting pad thrust bearing considering the effect of the thermal elastic deformation of the pad and collar.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used the fluid–solid interaction (FSI) technique to investigate the lubrication characteristics of a tilting pad thrust bearing for several typical operating conditions. The influences of the rotational speed, the thrust load and the oil supply temperature on the lubrication characteristics were analyzed.

Findings

The three-dimensional (3D) film model clearly shows that there is no pressure gradient but large temperature gradients across the film thickness. The wall heat transfer coefficients on the pad surfaces distribute in a very complex way and change within a large range. The rotational speed, the thrust load and the oil supply temperature have great but different influences on the lubrication characteristics.

Originality/value

This paper has preliminarily revealed the lubrication mechanism of the tilting-pad thrust bearings. The 3D FSI method is suggested to evaluate the thermal-elastic-hydrodynamic deformations of thrust bearings instead of the conventional method which iteratively solves the Reynolds equation, the energy equation, the heat conduction equation and the elastic equilibrium equation. Using FSI method, the heat transfer coefficients on the pad surfaces can be evaluated better.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51439002, Grant No. 51409148), Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (No. 20151080459), the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (Grant No. 20120002110011, No. 20130002110072) and the State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering (Grant No. 2014-KY-05) for their financial supports.

Citation

Zhai, L., Luo, Y., Liu, X., Chen, F., Xiao, Y. and Wang, Z. (2017), "Numerical simulations for the fluid-thermal-structural interaction lubrication in a tilting pad thrust bearing", Engineering Computations, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 1149-1165. https://doi.org/10.1108/EC-08-2015-0209

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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