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Title:
AIR FOIL BEARINGS HAVING MULTIPLE PADS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/175962
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
In one embodiment, an air foil bearing includes an outer bearing sleeve and multiple inner pads provided within the bearing sleeve, each pad including a top foil and an inner elastic structure that supports the top foil within the bearing sleeve, wherein each pad has an offset ratio that is greater than 0.5.

Inventors:
KIM DAEJONG (US)
Application Number:
US2015/031125
Publication Date:
November 19, 2015
Filing Date:
May 15, 2015
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
UNIV TEXAS (US)
International Classes:
F16C17/02
Foreign References:
US5902049A1999-05-11
US5634723A1997-06-03
US4262975A1981-04-21
US4795274A1989-01-03
US5498083A1996-03-12
US5902049A1999-05-11
US5634723A1997-06-03
Other References:
YADAV, S. ET AL.: "Dynamic Performance of Offset-Preloaded Two Pad Foil Bearings. Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of The University of Texas at Arlington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering", December 2012 (2012-12-01), XP055237287, Retrieved from the Internet [retrieved on 20150730]
See also references of EP 3143295A4
SHRIKANT ASHOK YADAV: "DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE OF OFFSET-PRELOADED TWO PAD FOIL BEARING", MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON, 1 December 2012 (2012-12-01), pages 1 - 70, XP055237287
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RISLEY, David, R. et al. (LLP.400 Interstate North Parkway, Suite 150, Atlanta GA, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

Claimed are:

1 . An air foil bearing comprising:

an outer bearing sleeve; and

multiple inner pads provided within the bearing sleeve, each pad including a top foil and an inner elastic structure that supports the top foil within the bearing sleeve, wherein each pad has an offset ratio that is greater than 0.5.

2. The air foil bearing of claim 1 , wherein the bearing comprises only two inner pads.

3. The air foil bearing of claim 2, wherein the pads each have an offset ratio of greater than 0.5 but less than 0.7.

4. The air foil bearing of claim 2, wherein the pads each have an offset ratio of greater than 0.7.

5. The air foil bearing of claim 1 , wherein the bearing comprises three or more inner pads.

6. The air foil bearing of claim 1 , wherein the inner elastic structure comprises an inner bump foil that is attached to an inner surface of the outer bearing sleeve.

7. The air foil bearing of claim 6, wherein each pad comprises two bump foils that support their associated top foil.

8. The air foil bearing of claim 1 , wherein each top foil has a leading edge and a trailing edge and wherein the trailing edges are connected to the bearing sleeve.

9. The air foil bearing of claim 8, wherein the leading edges of the top foils are closer to the outer bearing sleeve than the trailing edges of the top foils.

10. The air foil bearing of claim 8, wherein the trailing edges of the top foils extend into slots formed in the outer bearing sleeve.

1 1 . The air foil bearing of claim 10, wherein the trailing edges of the top foils are spot welded in place within the slots.

12. The air foil bearing of claim 10, wherein the trailing edges of the top foils are not secured within the slots so that the top foils can move freely along a radial direction of the bearing.

13. The air foil bearing of claim 8, wherein the trailing edge of each top foil is connected to the bearing sleeve with a retention key held in place with a set screw.

14. The air foil bearing of claim 8, wherein the leading edge of each top foil overlaps a trailing edge an adjacent top foil.

15. An air foil bearing comprising:

an outer bearing sleeve; and

multiple inner pads provided within the bearing sleeve, each pad including a top foil and an inner bump foil that supports the top foil within the bearing sleeve, each top foil having a leading edge and a trailing edge and wherein the trailing edges are connected to the bearing sleeve, wherein each pad has an offset ratio that is greater than 0.5 and the leading edges of the top foils are closer to the outer bearing sleeve than the trailing edges of the top foils.

Description:
AIR FOIL BEARINGS HAVING MULTIPLE PADS

Cross-Reference to Related Application

This application claims priority to co-pending U.S. Provisional Application serial number 61 /994,364, filed May 16, 2014, which is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

Background

Air foil bearings are a type of hydrodynamic bearing in which a shaft is supported by a compliant, spring-loaded foil that lines a bearing sleeve. When the shaft spins at a high speed, the rotation of the shaft pulls air into the bearing via viscosity effects and forms a high pressure air gap that separates the shaft from the foil such that they do not touch each other.

In the typical air foil bearing, the radial clearance between the foil and the shaft is uniform along the circumferential direction when the bearing is not loaded. When uniform clearance is used, however, the bearing causes the shaft to be dynamically unstable at high speeds. It would be desirable to have an air foil bearing that does not cause such shaft instability.

Brief Description of the Drawings

The present disclosure may be better understood with reference to the following figures. Matching reference numerals designate corresponding parts throughout the figures, which are not necessarily drawn to scale.

Fig. 1 is an end view of an embodiment of a two-pad air foil bearing.

Fig. 2 is an end view of an embodiment of a three-pad air foil bearing.

Fig. 3A is an end view of an embodiment of a two-pad air foil bearing having an alternative foil attachment method.

Fig. 3B is a detail view of the two-pad air foil bearing of Fig. 3A that shows the attachment of a top foil to the bearing.

Fig. 4 is an end view of an embodiment of a two-pad air foil bearing having double bump foils.

Fig. 5A is an end view of an embodiment of a two-pad air foil bearing in which the leading edges of the foils overlap the trailing edges of the other foils.

Fig. 5B is a detail view of the two-pad air foil bearing of Fig. 5A that shows attachment of a top foil to the bearing.

Fig. 6 is an end view of a third embodiment of a two-pad air foil bearing having double bump foils and leading foil edges that overlap trailing foil edges.

Detailed Description

As described above, it would be desirable to have an air foil bearing that does not create shaft instability at high speeds. Disclosed herein are air foil bearings that avoid such instability. In some embodiments, the air foil bearings have two pads. In other embodiments, the air foil bearings have three or more pads. In either case, the offset ratio for the pads, which relates to the pad angular width and the location of the minimum set bore film thickness, is greater than 0.5 such that the radial clearance between the pads and the shaft is not uniform along the circumferential direction. This increases the stability of the shaft during rotation.

In the following disclosure, various specific embodiments are described. It is to be understood that those embodiments are example implementations of the disclosed inventions and that alternative embodiments are possible. All such embodiments are intended to fall within the scope of this disclosure.

Fig. 1 illustrates an embodiment of an air foil bearing 10 that is adapted to support a rotatable shaft 12 in a stable manner. The direction of rotation of the shaft 12 is identified by arrow 13. As shown in the figure, the air foil bearing 10 includes an outer bearing sleeve 14 and first and second inner pads 16, 18 that form an inner lining of the sleeve. The first pad 16 comprises a first top foil 20 that is supported by an inner bump foil 22. In a similar manner, the second pad 18 comprises a second top foil 24 that is supported by an inner bump foil 26. The top foils 20, 24 comprise thin sheets of metal, such as steel or a nickel alloy like Inconel 718 or X750. The bump foils 22, 26 are similar in structure to the top foils 20, 24 but are corrugated so as to form "bumps" that are visible in Fig. 1 . The top foils 20, 24 together function as a bearing surface of the air foil bearing 10. The bump foils 22, 26 support their associated top foils 20, 24 and serve as elastic foundations that provide not only stiffness but also Coulomb-type (sliding friction) damping to the top foils. While corrugated bump foils are illustrated in Fig. 1 and have been described above, it is noted that alternative elastic structures that serve the same purpose can be used, such as metal meshes, elastomers, viscoelastic materials, and the like. With further reference to Fig. 1 , each top foil 20, 24 has a free leading edge 28 and a trailing edge 30 that is secured to the bearing sleeve 14. In some embodiments, the trailing edges 30 are bent at an approximately 90° angle and extend into longitudinal slots 32 formed along the inside of the bearing sleeve 14. The trailing edges 30 can either be spot welded in place within the slots 32 of the sleeve 14 or can be simply left inserted into the slots so that the top foils 20, 24 can move freely along the radial direction. Regardless of the manner in which trailing edges 30 are connected to the bearing sleeve 14, the leading edge 28 of the second top foil 24 is adjacent the trailing edge 30 of the first top foil 20, and the leading edge 28 of the first top foil is adjacent the trailing edge 30 of the second top foil. In the example illustrated in Fig. 1 , the leading edges 28 of the pads 16, 18 are spaced farther away from the shaft 12 than the trailing edges 30. Stated otherwise, the leading edges 28 are closer to the outer bearing sleeve 14 than the trailing edges 30.

As described above, when uniform clearance is used between a shaft and an air foil bearing, the bearing causes the shaft to be dynamically unstable at high speeds. To avoid this instability, the bearing clearance within the air foil bearing 10 is non-uniform. The pad angular width is the angle through which the width of a pad extends within the bearing. The pad angular width of the second pad 18 is identified as Qpa in Fig. 1 . The minimum distance between the pad and the shaft is referred to as the minimum set bore film thickness. The minimum set bore film thickness for the second pad 18 is identified as CSB in Fig. 1 . The angular location of the minimum set bore film thickness is identified as 0ss in Fig. 1 . The ratio between the angular location of the minimum set bore film thickness 0ss and the pad angular width Q pac i is defined as the offset ratio: -^- [Equation 1 ]

^ pad

As is apparent from Fig. 1 , the offset ratio γ for the pads 16, 18 of the air foil bearing 10 is greater than 0.5. In such a case, the thickness of the air film created between the shaft 12 and the pads 16, 18 decreases from the leading edges 28 of the top foils 20, 24 until 0ss and then increases from 0ss to the trailing edges 30. In some embodiments, the offset ratio γ is greater than 0.5 but less than 0.7. In other embodiments, the offset ratio γ is greater than 0.7. In the embodiment of Fig. 1 , the desired clearance distribution is achieved by designing the bearing sleeve 14 to have a shape that results in that clearance distribution. Alternatively, the desired clearance distribution can be achieved by altering the height of the bump foils 22, 26 along the circumferential direction.

As is also shown in Fig. 1 , the radial centers of the first and second top foils OTFI and OTF2 are offset from the radial center of the bearing OBRG- The distance between these centers is known as the hydrodynamic preload r p . The hydrodynamic preload r p and offset ratio γ are both design parameters of the bearing 1 0 and can be selected based on the performance requirement for the bearing.

Fig. 2 illustrates a further embodiment of an air foil bearing 40 that is adapted to support a rotatable shaft 42. The air foil bearing 40 is similar in many ways to the air foil bearing 10 shown in Fig. 1 . Accordingly, the air foil bearing 40 includes an outer bearing sleeve 44 and multiple inner pads. In this embodiment, however, the air foil bearing 40 includes three such pads, including a first inner pad 46, a second inner pad 48, and a third inner pad 50. As with the pads of the air foil bearing 10, each pad 46-50 includes a top foil and an inner bump foil. Accordingly, the first pad 46 comprises a first top foil 52 and a bump foil 54, the second pad 48 comprises a second top foil 56 and a bump foil 58, and the third pad 50 comprises a third top foil 60 and a bump foil 62. As before, the top foils 52, 56, 60 together form a bearing surface and the bump foils 54, 58, 62 support their associated top foils. While the air foil bearing 40 comprises three pads 46, 48, 50, it is noted that the bearing can comprise greater than three pads.

With further reference to Fig. 2, each top foil 52, 56, 60 has a free leading edge 64 and a trailing edge 66 that is secured to the bearing sleeve 44. The trailing edges 66 extend into longitudinal slots 68 formed along the inside of the bearing sleeve 44. As is apparent in Fig. 2, the bearing clearance is non-uniform as it was in the two-pad embodiment. In some embodiments, the offset ratio γ is greater than 0.5. In addition, the radial centers of the top foils 0 T FI, 0 T F2, and 0 T F3 are offset from the radial center of the bearing 0 B RG SO as to provide hydrodynamic preload.

The air foil bearings described above in relation to Figs. 1 and 2 can be modified in various ways. Figs. 3-6 illustrate examples of such modifications.

Beginning with Figs. 3A and 3B, shown is a two-pad air foil bearing 70 that is similar in construction to the two-pad air foil bearing 10 shown in Fig. 1 . Accordingly, the air foil bearing 70 includes a bearing sleeve 72 that contains two inner pads 74, 76. Each pad comprises a top foil 78, 80, which is supported by a bump foil 82, 84. As with the embodiment of Fig. 1 , the offset ratio γ for each pad 74, 76 can be greater than 0.5. Each top foil 78, 80 has a free leading edge 86 and a trailing edge 88 that is secured to the bearing sleeve 14.

As indicated in Figs. 3A and 3B, the trailing edge 88 of each top foil 78, 80 is attached to the bearing sleeve 72 using a retention key 90 that is secured in place with a set screw 92 that threads into a threaded opening 94 formed in the bearing sleeve.

Turning to Fig. 4, shown is a further two-pad air foil bearing 100 including a bearing sleeve 102 that contains two inner pads 104, 106. Each pad 104, 106 comprises a top foil 108, 1 10. Instead of being supported by a single bump foil, however, each top foil 108, 1 10 is supported by two bump foils 1 12, 1 14. This provides increased damping for the bearing 100. Each top foil 108, 1 10 includes a leading edge 1 16 and a trailing edge 1 18.

As with the previous embodiment, the trailing edge 1 18 of each top foil 108, 1 10 is attached to the bearing sleeve 102 using a retention key 120 that is secured in place with a set screw 122 that threads into a threaded opening 124 formed in the bearing sleeve. As with the embodiment of Fig. 1 , the offset ratio γ for each pad 74, 76 can be greater than 0.5.

Referring next to Figs. 5A and 5B, shown is a further two-pad air foil bearing 130 including a bearing sleeve 132 that contains two inner pads 134, 136. Each pad 134, 136 comprises a top foil 138, 140, which is supported by a bump foil 142, 144. As with the embodiment of Fig. 1 , the offset ratio γ for each pad 74, 76 can be greater than 0.5.

Each top foil 138, 140 includes a leading edge 146 and a trailing edge 148. As is indicated in the figures, the leading edge 146 of each top foil 138, 140 is extended so as to overlap and touch the trailing edge 148 of the other top foil. This provides a larger and more continuous bearing surface for the bearing 130. As is also indicated in the figures, the trailing edge 148 of each top foil 138, 140 is attached to the bearing sleeve 132 using a retention key 150 that is secured in place with a set screw 152 that threads into a threaded opening 154 formed in the bearing sleeve.

Turning to Fig. 6, shown is another two-pad air foil bearing 160 that is a hybrid of the embodiments shown in Figs. 4 and 5. The air foil bearing 160 includes a bearing sleeve 162 that contains two inner pads 164, 166. Each pad comprises a top foil 168, 170, which is each supported by two bump foils 172, 174. Each top foil 168, 170 includes a leading edge 176 and a trailing edge 178. The leading edge 176 of each top foil 168, 170 is extended so as to overlap and touch the trailing edge 178 of the other top foil. In addition, the trailing edge 178 of each top foil 168, 170 is attached to the bearing sleeve 162 using a retention key 180 that is secured in place with a set screw 182 that threads into a threaded opening 184 formed in the bearing sleeve.

The air foil bearings described in this disclosure can be used in many different applications. Examples include turbo chargers, oil-free turbo compressors/blowers, small gas turbines, small air craft engines, turbo alternators, and motor-driven compressors/blowers.