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Advances in Tribology
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 2841303, 14 pages
Research Article

Numerical Investigation of Turbulence Models for a Superlaminar Journal Bearing

Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Xuesong Li

Received 11 July 2017; Accepted 4 December 2017; Published 3 January 2018

Academic Editor: Michel Fillon

Copyright © 2018 Aoshuang Ding et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


With rotating machineries working at high speeds, oil flow in bearings becomes superlaminar. Under superlaminar conditions, flow exhibits between laminar and fully developed turbulence. In this study, superlaminar oil flow in an oil-lubricated tilting-pad journal bearing is analyzed through computational fluid dynamics (CFD). A three-dimensional bearing model is established. CFD results from the laminar model and 14 turbulence models are compared with experimental findings. The laminar simulation results of pad-side pressure are inconsistent with the experimental data. Thus, the turbulence effects on superlaminar flow should be considered. The simulated temperature and pressure distributions from the classical fully developed turbulence models cannot correctly fit the experimental data. As such, turbulence models should be corrected for superlaminar flow. However, several corrections, such as transition correction, are unsuitable. Among all the flow models, the SST model with low-Re correction exhibits the best pressure distribution and turbulence viscosity ratio. Velocity profile analysis confirms that a buffer layer plays an important role in the superlaminar boundary layer. Classical fully developed turbulence models cannot accurately predict the buffer layer, but this problem can be resolved by initiating an appropriate low-Re correction. Therefore, the SST model with low-Re correction yields suitable results for superlaminar flows in bearings.