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DRAFT Proceedings of WTC2005

Tribology Congress
of WTC2005III
September 12–16, 2005,
World Washington,
Tribology D.C.
Congress III
September 12-16, 2005, Washington, D.C., USA



Waldemar M. Dmochowski Martin N. Webster

National Research Council ExxonMobil

Institute for Aerospace Research Corporate Strategic Research
Ottawa, Ontario Clinton, New Jersey

ABSTRACT inlet temperature, oil outlet temperature, oil flowrate, and oil
Experimental and analytical results of bearing friction loss, supply pressure.
operating temperature, and oil gap thickness are presented
comparing performance characteristics of bearings operating Table 1 Oil parameters
with the different lubricants. The lubricants were blended Parameter
using a variety of mineral and synthetic base stocks to achieve a VG 46 VG 68 VI PAO
range of viscosity-temperature characteristics. Viscosity @ 40oC,
46.0 68.78 29.01 44.62
The results show that the test bearings running with higher 10-6 m2/s
viscosity index (VI) lubricants generated slightly lower bearing Viscosity @ 100oC,
6.8 8.92 7.52 7.75
10-6 m2/s
surface temperatures than those generated using a low VI
Density @ 75oC,
lubricant. The high VI lubricant also reduced the total power kg/m3
885.8 864.2 784.4 829.9
losses by up to 10 %. These gains are achieved with little or Oil thermal conductivity,
no change in the minimum oil film thickness. 0.135 0.097 0.135 0.130
Oil specific heat @ 40 oC,
1. INTRODUCTION 2.001 2.062 2.158 2.151
Synthetic lubricants offer two important advantages over
mineral oil based lubricants: longer life and wider temperature high VI ISO 68
range of operation with higher viscosity index (VI). ISO 46 ISO 46 PAO
Kinematic viscosity, cSt

Performance of journal bearings in turbomachinery can benefit 100

from the latter characteristic. In particular, it is expected that
the reduced viscosity of the oil in the unloaded half of a plain
bearing will reduce the bearing friction loss. 10
To explore these benefits, a study has been conducted on
the performance characteristics of a 152 mm (6 in.) bearing
lubricated with four different oils: two mineral turbine oils ISO 0 20 40 60 80 100
VG 46 and ISO VG 68, ISO 46 PAO, and an oil referred to as Temperature, o C
high VI oil.
Figure 1 Viscosity of the test oils
Except for the oil ISO VG 68, the tested oils have similar Table 2 Test bearing parameters
viscosities at temperatures between 70-100oC. Table 1 shows Diameter 152 mm (6 in.)
parameters of the oils used in this study. Viscosity variations Length/diameter ratio 0.6
with temperature for these oils are illustrated in Figure 1. Nominal bearing clearance ratio 0.002
The tests were carried out on the test facility, which has Number of grooves 2
been described in [1]. Instrumentation fitted to the test rig Groove angle 30 degrees
enables the following measurements to be made: bearing load,
shaft speed, friction torque, bearing position with respect to the The test bearing was a plain journal bearing with the
shaft, temperature at the bearing surfaces at 32 locations, oil design parameters given in Table 2.

1 Copyright © #### by ASME

Copyright © 2005 by National Research Council of Canada
1 and ASME

Power loss, kW
Calculations of the bearing performance characteristics

Power loss, hp
have been carried out using a thermohydrodynamic model 20

described in [2]. The pressure distribution in the oil film is 20

calculated from a two-dimensional Reynolds' equation that 10
considers viscosity variations in both the circumferential and
0 0
radial directions, and assumes the Swift-Steiber boundary 0 4000 8000 12000 16000
condition for a cavitated oil film. Turbulence is accounted for Shaft speed, rpm
in the model. The temperature distribution in the oil film is ISO 46, calculations high VI, calculation
governed by the energy equation, accounting for heat ISO 46, experiment high VI, experiment
conduction across the oil film and heat convection in the Figure 4 Bearing power loss. Bearing load 24.0 kN (5,400 lbf)
circumferential direction. Hot oil carry over is also considered.

Minimum film thickness, mm


Minimum film thickness, in.

Performance evaluation of the tested oils has been based 0.15 High VI ISO 68 0.006
on a comparison of bearing operating temperature, power loss,
and oil film thickness. 0.10 0.004
All the tested lubricants provided safe bearing operating
temperatures for the entire range of loads and shaft speeds. The 0.05 0.002

test bearing operated at higher temperatures with both mineral

0.00 0
oils. This is illustrated in Figure 2, which shows the measured 0 4000 8000 12000 16000
maximum operating temperatures. In particular, this effect has Rotational speed, rpm
been observed at higher speeds, where the use of the ISO 46 Figure 5 Minimum film thickness. Bearing load of
PAO, or high VI oils reduced the bearing temperature by up to 12 kN (2700 lbf)
10°C. These benefits occurred at slight reductions in the
minimum oil film thickness. Figure 5 indicates that these
high VI ISO 68 reductions in no way compromised safe bearing operation.
Temperature, oC

At higher temperatures, the viscosity characteristics are
90 similar for all of the tested oils. Thus, the friction losses in the
bearing half, which carries the load are similar. However, in
70 the unloaded bearing half the temperature of the oil will be
lower. The shearing losses in this region will be less for the
50 high VI oils due to a lower viscosity versus the low VI oils.
0 4000 8000 12000 16000
Rotational speed, rpm
Figure 2 Maximum bearing temperature. Bearing load of The results presented in this paper have shown that
12 kN (2700 lbf) increasing lubricant’s viscosity index can lead to a reduction in
bearing operating temperature. The test bearing lubricated with
The friction losses of the bearing lubricated with the the synthetic oils ran cooler than with mineral based oils. In
mineral oils and the ISO 46 PAO were similar. This is shown particular, oil ISO 46 PAO reduced the maximum bearing
in Figure 3. However, despite lower operating temperatures the temperature by up to 10oC. At the same time, the high VI oil
high VI lubricant consistently led to reductions in bearing led to power losses lower by up to 10 %. The operating
power loss. When compared to the other lubricants these minimum film thickness was practically identical for all the
reductions exceeded 10% at most of the test conditions. This tested oils.
experimental observation has confirmed the results from the
computer model. Figure 4 compares the calculation results for
the ISO VG 46 and high VI lubricants.
1. Brockwell, K.R., Dmochowski, W.M., DeCamillo, S.,”An
ISO 46 ISO 46 PAO 50 Investigation of the Steady-State Performance of a Pivoted
High VI ISO 68
40 Shoe Journal Bearing With ISO VG 32 and VG 68 Oils,” STLE
Power loss, kW

Power loss, hp

Tribology Transactions, 47 (2004), 480-488.

20 2. Dmochowski, W., Brockwell, K., DeCamillo, S., Mikula,
20 A., 1993, “A Study of the Thermal Characteristics of the
10 Leading Edge Groove and Conventional Tilting Pad Bearings,”
ASME Journal of Tribology, 115(1993), 219-226.
0 0
0 4000 8000 12000 16000
Rotational speed, rpm
Figure 3 Bearing power loss. Bearing load of
12 kN (2700 lbf)

2 Copyright © #### by ASME

Copyright © 2005 by National Research Council of Canada
2 and ASME