Investigation of Air Bearings for Small High-Performance Aircraft Gas Turbines

[+] Author and Article Information
P. W. Curwen

Mechanical Technology Incorporated, Latham, N. Y.

W. E. Young

Pratt and Whitney Aircraft (FRDC), West Palm Beach, Fla.

R. G. Furgurson

United States Army Mobility Research and Development Laboratory, Eustis Directorate, Ft. Eustis, Va.

J. Eng. Power 94(4), 294-302 (Oct 01, 1972) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3445684 History: Received December 28, 1971; Online July 14, 2010


High temperatures and rotative speeds of future U. S. Army aircraft propulsion systems will impose increasingly severe operating requirements on oil-lubricated engine bearings and associated seals. Accordingly, air-lubricated bearings are being investigated as a possible approach to alleviating the lubrication problems. This paper presents the results of design and performance studies, as well as bearing component tests, relative to applying air bearings to a two-shaft, 3.5-lb/sec turboshaft engine. The test results verify that air bearings can carry the maximum loads imposed by flight and landing conditions, and can survive the sliding contacts associated with 15,000 engine start/stop cycles. Incentives for pursuing the air-bearing approach are identified, as are also the development and problem areas.

Copyright © 1972 by ASME
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