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Operation of journal bearing

A journal bearing is used to support the rotor in horizontal

machines and to restrict radial movement in vertical
machines. Most oil lubricated journal bearing consist of a
stationary cylindrical body (sleeve) separated from the
rotating shaft by a layer of lubricant. In a journal bearing such
as plain cylindrical, lobe or tilting pad bearings pressure or
hydrodynamic lift is generated within the thin lubricant oil film
which separates the shaft and the bearing, thus preventing
metal-to-metal contact. The nomenclature of oil lubricated
sleeve bearing is shown in Fig. 1. In oil lubricated sleeve
bearings oil may be supplied to the bearings by gravity feed,
external lubrication system or oil rings. Oil adheres to the
journal due to its viscous properties and pumping action as
journal rotates. Fluid pressure is generated due to the
hydrodynamic action of the fluid film. This pressure
counteracts the weight of the rotor and lifts the journal from
978-1-4244-3800-6/09/$25.00 2009 IEEE
c. Unstable Orbit
b. Steady State orbit with unbalance
the bearing surface preventing metal to metal contact. There
are several key operating and geometric parameters which
influences the generation of reliable oil film such as operating
speed, load, clearance between journal and bearing, oil
viscosity, surface finish as well as the radius and length of
the bearing.
Some of the important parameters involved in the design
of oil lubricated sleeve bearings systems are summarized
below and have been divided into various sub-categories:
A. Operating Parameter
a) Bearing Load (W)
b) Operating speed (N)
c) Oil viscosity ()
B. Geometric Parameter
a) Length of bearing (L)
b) Diameter of bearing (D)
c) Radial clearance between journal and bearing
C. Performance Parameters
a) Eccentricity (e)
b) Eccentricity ratio () = e/C
c) Minimum film thickness ( hmin )
Usually operating parameters are determined by the rotor
load and motor speed, which are known to the mechanical
designer. In order to obtain optimized performance
parameter for a given set of operating parameters, the
designer can control items such as geometric and operating
parameters such as oil viscosity to obtain the optimal and
most reliable bearing system possible.
B. Motion of the Rotor Inside the bearing clearance
Rotor center can exhibit following type of trajectory inside the
bearing clearance
a) Steady state orbit without unbalance
b) Steady state orbit