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RESEARCH PAPERS: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

Measured Force/Current Relations in Solid Magnetic Thrust Bearings

[+] Author and Article Information
P. E. Allaire, R. L. Fittro, E. H. Maslen

Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering Department, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903

W. C. Wakefield

Proctor & Gamble, Hunt Valley, MD 21030

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 119(1), 137-142 (Jan 01, 1997) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2815537 History: Received February 13, 1995; Online November 19, 2007

Abstract

When magnetic bearings are employed in a pump, compressor, turbine, or other rotating machine, measurement of the current in the bearing coils provides knowledge of the forces imposed on the bearings. This can be a significant indicator of machine problems. Additionally, magnetic bearings can be utilized as a load cell for measuring impeller forces in test rigs. The forces supported by magnetic bearings are directly related to the currents, air gaps, and other parameters in the bearings. This paper discusses the current/force relation for magnetic thrust bearings. Force versus current measurements were made on a particular magnetic bearing in a test rig as the bearing coil currents were cycled at various time rates of change. The quasi-static force versus current relations were measured for a variety of air gaps and currents. The thrust bearing exhibits a hysteresis effect, which creates a significant difference between the measured force when the current is increasing as compared to that when the current is decreasing. For design current loops, 0.95 A to 2.55 A, at the time rate of change of 0.1 A/s, the difference between increasing and decreasing current curves due to hysteresis ranged from 4 to 8 percent. If the bearing is operated in small trajectories about a fixed (nonzero) operation point on the F/I (force/current) curve, the scatter in the measurement error could be expected to be on the order of 4 percent. A quasi-static nonlinear current/force equation was developed to model the data and curve-fit parameters established for the measured data. The effects of coercive force and iron reluctance, obtained from conventional magnetic materials tests, were included to improve the model, but theoretically calculated values from simple magnetic circuit theory do not produce accurate results. Magnetic fringing, leakage, and other effects must be included. A sinusoidal perturbation current was also imposed on the thrust bearing. Force/current magnitude and phase angle values versus frequency were obtained for the bearing. The magnitude was relatively constant up to 2 Hz but then decreased with frequency. The phase lag was determined to increase with frequency with value of 16 deg at 40 Hz. This effect is due to eddy currents, which are induced in the solid thrust-bearing components.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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