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Foil bearing

A foil-air bearing for the core rotor shaft of an aircraft turbine Foil Bearing

Foil bearings, also known as foil-air bearings, are a

type of air bearing. A shaft is supported by a compliant,
spring-loaded foil journal lining. Once the shaft is spin-
ning fast enough, the working uid (usually air) pushes
the foil away from the shaft so that there is no contact.
The shaft and foil are separated by the airs high pressure
which is generated by the rotation which pulls gas into the
bearing via viscosity eects. A high speed of the shaft
with respect to the foil is required to initiate the air gap,
and once this has been achieved, no wear occurs. Unlike
aero or hydrostatic bearings, foil bearings require no ex-
ternal pressurisation system for the working uid, so the
hydrodynamic bearing is self-starting.

1 Development
Foil bearings were rst developed in the late 1950s by
AiResearch Mfg. Co. of the Garrett Corporation us-
ing independent R&D funds to serve military and space
applications.[1][2] They were rst tested for commer-
cial use in United Airlines Boeing 727 and Boeing 737
cooling turbines in the early- and mid-1960s.[3] Garrett
AiResearch air cycle machine foil bearings were rst
installed as original equipment in 1969 in the DC-10's Load capacity against rotation speed, for Gen I and Gen III bear-
environmental control systems. Garrett AiResearch foil ings
bearings were installed on all US military aircraft to re-
place existing oil-lubricated rolling-contact bearings. The
ability to operate at cryogenic gas temperatures as well as


at very high temperatures gave foil bearings many other 4 References

potential applications.[4]
Current-generation foil bearings with advanced coat- [1] Some early history is reported in Giri L. Agrawal (1997).
Foil Air/Gas Bearing Technology An Overview.
ings have greatly exceeded the limitations of earlier de-
Publication 97-GT-347 (American Society of Mechanical
signs. Anti-wear coatings exist that allow over 100,000
start/stop cycles for typical applications. New third-
generation bearings can hold over 9,000 times their [2] Giri L. Agrawal (July 1998). Foil Bearings Cleared to
weight, at extremely high speeds.[5] Land. Mechanical Engineering. 1978-1980 (120).

[3] Scholer Bangs (February 1973). Foil Bearings Help Air

Passengers Keep their Cool. Power Transmission Design.
2 Applications
[4] M. A. Barnett and A. Silver (September 1970).
Application of Air Bearings to High-Speed Turbo-
Turbomachinery is the most common application because machinery. Technical Paper No. 700720 (Society of
foil bearings operate at high speed.[6] The main advan- Automotive Engineers). 700720.
tage of foil bearings is the elimination of the oil systems
required by traditional bearing designs. Other advantages [5] Heshmat, Hooshang (September 2005). Major Break-
are: through in Load Capacity, Speed and Operating Tem-
perature of Foil Thrust Bearings. Technical Paper No.
WT2005-63712 (American Society of Mechanical Engi-
Higher eciency, due to a lower heat loss to friction;
neers). WT2005-63712.
instead of uid friction, the main source of heat is
parasitic drag [6] R. M. Fred Klaass and Christopher DellaCorte (2006).
The Quest for Oil-Free Gas Turbine Engines. SAE
Increased reliability Technical Papers (SAE). 2006-01-3055.
Higher speed capability
Quieter operation 5 External links
Wider operating temperature range (402,500 K)
NASA Glenn Research Center Creating a Turbo-
High vibration and shock load capacity machinery Revolution
No scheduled maintenance NASA Tribology & Mechanical Components
No external support system Branch

Truly oil free where contamination is an issue Mohawk Innovative Technology, Inc.

Capable of operating above critical speed Tribology Group at Texas A&M

Korean Institute for Science and Technology KIST

Areas of current research are:
Center for Rotating Machinery at LSU
Higher load capacity
Improved damping
Improved coatings

The main disadvantages are:

Lower capacity than roller or oil bearings

Wear during start-up and stopping
High speed required for operation

3 See also
Fluid bearing

6 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

6.1 Text
Foil bearing Source: Contributors: Deb, Heron, Gbleem, CatherineMu-
nro, Doradus, Bcorr, Moink, Wolfkeeper, Pashute, Khalid hassani, Neilc, Sonett72, DanielCD, Duk, Hooperbloob, Mindmatrix, Old
Moonraker, SmackBot, Chris the speller, CHeshmat, Wizard191, Zarex, Cydebot, Epbr123, Dugwiki, 3-14159, Mack2, BilCat, Loren-
zoB, Inwind, Andy Dingley, Michael Frind, SieBot, Lightmouse, Hamiltondaniel, Addbot, Orgella, Materialscientist, Wdl1961, Racky3,
Gregzore and Anonymous: 24

6.2 Images
File:FoilBearing.png Source: License: Public domain Contribu-
tors: Original artist: NASA
File:Foil_Bearing_Capacity.png Source: License:
Public domain Contributors: Original artist: NASA, ploader: Pud
File:Foilbearing.jpg Source: License: Public domain Contribu-
tors: Original artist: Dr. Christopher DellaCorte, NASA.

6.3 Content license

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