An efficient finite element scheme for solving the non-linear Reynolds equation for compressible fluid coupled to compliant structures is presented. The method is general and fast and can be used in the analysis of airfoil bearings with simplified or complex foil structure models. To illustrate the computational performance, it is applied to the analysis of a compliant foil bearing modelled using the simple elastic foundation model. The model is derived and perturbed using complex notation. Top foil sagging effect is added to the bump foil compliance in terms of a close-form periodic function. For a foil bearing utilized in an industrial turbo compressor, the influence of boundary conditions and sagging on the pressure profile, shaft equilibrium position and dynamic coefficients is numerically simulated. The proposed scheme is faster, leading to the conclusion that it is suitable, not only for steady-state analysis, but also for non-linear time domain analysis of rotors supported by airfoil bearings.
Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering, 2015, Vol 37, Issue 3, p. 945-957
Reynolds equation; Compressible fluid; Finite element method