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Shock and Vibration
Volume 16, Issue 1, Pages 13-43

Identification Methods and Test Results for Tilting Pad and Fixed Geometry Journal Bearing Dynamic Coefficients – A Review

T.W. Dimond, P.N. Sheth, P.E. Allaire, and M. He

Rotating Machinery and Controls (ROMAC) Lab, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22901, USA

Received 15 August 2007; Revised 5 December 2007

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Fluid film journal bearings (FFBs) are used to support high-speed rotors in turbomachinery which often operate above the rotor first bending critical speed. The FFBs provide both lateral support and dynamic coefficients: stiffness, damping, and mass terms, related to machine vibrations. Detailed numerical values of the bearing dynamic characteristics are necessary for proper design and operation of rotating machinery.

The methods of the identification of fluid film journal bearing static and dynamic characteristics, particularly the bearing stiffness, damping, and mass coefficients, from measured data, obtained from different measurement systems, is reviewed. Many bearing tests have been performed to validate a number of different theoretical models, including the classical Reynolds isoviscous model. More advanced bearing models include the thermohydrodynamic (THD), and thermoelastohydrodynamic (TEHD) approaches. The advanced models also include turbulence effects which are important as rotor speeds continue to increase. The range of measured bearing data no longer includes current operational conditions.

The various approaches to the bearing identification problem are discussed, including the different force excitation methods of incremental loading, sinusoidal, pseudorandom, impulse, known/additional unbalance, and non-contact excitation. Also bearing excitation and rotor excitation approaches are discussed. Data processing methods in the time and frequency domains are presented. Methods of evaluating the effects of measurement uncertainty on overall bearing coefficient confidence levels are reviewed.

In this review, the relative strengths and weaknesses of bearing identification methods are presented, and developments and trends in improving bearing measurements are documented. Future trends in journal bearing identification improvement are discussed.