On the dynamic stability of high-speed gas bearings: stability study and experimental validation

  • T. Waumans
  • J. Peirs
  • J. Reynaerts
  • F. Al-Bender


For high-speed applications, gas lubricated bearings offer very specific advantages over other,more conventional bearing technologies: a clean and oil-free solution, virtually wear-free operation, lowfrictional losses, wide operating temperature range, etc. However, the principal drawback involved in theapplication of high-speed gas bearings concerns the dynamic stability problem. Successful applicationtherefore requires control of the rotor-bearing dynamics so as to avoid instabilities.After a detailed study of the dynamic stability problem and the formulation of a convenient stability criterium,a brief overview is given of the currently existing bearing types and configurations for improving the stability.In addition, three strategies are introduced: (i) optimal design of plain aerostatic bearings; (ii) modification ofthe bearing geometry to counteract the destabilising effects in the gas film; and (iii) introduction of dampingexternal to the gas film as to compensate for the destabilising effects.These strategies are worked out into detail leading to the formulation of a series of design rules. Theireffectiveness is validated experimentally at a miniature scale. In recent experiments a rotational speed of1.2 million rpm has been achieved with a 6 mm rotor on aerodynamic journal bearings, leading to a recordDN-number of 7.2 million.

How to Cite:

Waumans, T., Peirs, J., Reynaerts, J. & Al-Bender, F., (2011) “On the dynamic stability of high-speed gas bearings: stability study and experimental validation”, International Journal of Sustainable Construction and Design 2(2), 342-351. doi:

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Published on
05 Nov 2011
Peer Reviewed