This research details a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) approach to model fluid flow in a journal bearing with 8 equispaced semi-circular axial grooves. Water is used as the lubricant and is fed from one end of the bearing to the other, under pressure. The geometry of the bearing is modeled using a commercially available modeling software GAMBIT and the flow analysis is performed using a dedicated CFD analysis software FLUENT. The pressure distribution in the bearing clearance is obtained from FLUENT for various whirl ratios and is used to calculate the hydrodynamic force components in the radial and tangential direction of the bearing. These values along with the various whirl speeds can be used to do a regression analysis to determine the stiffness and damping coefficients. The values obtained are then compared with the stiffness and damping coefficients of a 3 Axial groove water lubricated journal bearing and those obtained from a FORTRAN code for a similar bearing.
The stability characteristics of water lubricated journal bearings having three axial grooves are obtained theoretically. In this lubricant (water) is fed under pressure from one end of the bearing, through the 3-axial grooves (groove angles may vary). These bearings can use the process fluid as the lubricant, as in the case of feed water pumps. The Reynolds equation is solved numerically by the finite difference method satisfying the boundary conditions. The stiffness and damping coefficient for various bearing number and eccentricity ratios, assuming linear pressure drop along the groove, shows that smaller groove angles better results.
The study deals with the challenges in developing a test rig to test the performance of water lubricated journal bearing. The test rig is designed to simulate the working conditions of the bearing in order to understand their performance before they are put in operation. The bearing that is studied is the commercially available water lubricated bearing which has a rubber liner bonded with a rigid metal shell. The lubricant enters the bearing axially through a pressurized inlet tank and exits to an outlet tank which is at sufficiently low pressure. The load on the bearing is applied through the dead weight system which acts both in upward and downward direction so that net load acts on the bearing. The issues in feeding the lubricant into the bearing from the inlet side and preventing the leakage of the lubricant is discussed. The application of the load on the test bearing while maintaining the bearing afloat is also discussed.
Load carrying capacity of an oil lubricated two-axial groove journal bearing is simulated by taking into account the viscosity variations in lubricant due to the addition of TiO2 nanoparticles as lubricant additive. Shear viscosities of TiO2 nanoparticle dispersions in oil are measured for various nanoparticle additive concentrations. The viscosity model derived from the experimental viscosities is employed in a modified Reynolds equation to obtain the pressure profiles and load carrying capacity of two-axial groove journal bearing. Results reveal an increase in load carrying capacity of bearings operating on nanoparticle dispersions as compared to plain oil.