Gas journal bearings are very sensitive to the hydrodynamic instability known as subsynchronous whirl motion, especially when they are unloaded. The wave bearing concept can improve the bearing stability, meaning that the wave bearing can run stably up to higher speeds than the plain bearing. In addition, when whirling motion occurs due to the fluid film instability, the orbit of this motion can be contained within the bearing clearance. Another step ahead for improving bearing stability is to pressurize the bearing. Tests were conducted to verify the threshold of subsynchronous whirl motion of bearings with a 35 mm diameter and 30 mm length. Pressurized air is admitted to the bearings through inherent compensated holes located in two planes along the bearing length. Various numbers of holes and diameters were used. The tests were conducted at speeds up to 30,000 rpm and the supply pressure was varied from zero to 0.14 MPa. The pressure was measured within a 2% precision. Two values for the wave amplitude to bearing clearance ratio were used. Pressurizing the bearing with 0.14 MPa can make the bearing run stably up to a speed of 20,000 rpm, unlike an unpressurized bearing that can experience subsynchronous motion at speeds less than 1,000 rpm. It was found that the supply pressure has a strong stabilizing effect. As a general rule, a 10% change of the value of the supply pressure can modify the stability threshold speed with more than 1000 rpm.

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