Experimental Performance Study of a High Speed Oil Lubricated Polymer Thrust Bearing

by Jie Zhou, Barry Blair, John Argires and Donald Pitsch
Waukesha Bearings

With the demand for turbomachinery to operate at higher speeds, loads, and power, fluid film bearings that support turbomachinery must be capable of operating in these more demanding applications. Thrust bearings operating at high speeds and loads can experience high surface temperatures and thin fluid film thickness.

Typically, babbitt (white metal) is the bearing lining material for most turbomachinery bearings but is limited in operating temperature and allowable film thickness. Polymer based materials are alternative materials that can operate at high temperatures and with thin films and have been in use for many decades in high load applications, such as electric submersible pumps (ESPs).

Test results of polymer lined thrust bearings subjected to modern turbomachinery speeds and loads are presented and compared to babbitt lined bearings of the same design and under similar conditions. The test results show polymer lined thrust bearings can operate at higher bearing unit loads than babbitt.

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Original publication: Zhou J, Blair B, Argires J, Pitsch D. Experimental Performance Study of a High Speed Oil Lubricated Polymer Thrust Bearing. Lubricants. 2015; 3(1):3-13.

PEEK Bearing Solutions

Waukesha Bearings has more than 30 years’ expertise in polymer bearing technology, extending the operating limits of fluid film bearings and allowing lubrication by process fluids. Backed by an ongoing investment in research and development, our advanced material bearings are ideal for challenging environments.

PEEK components can serve as direct replacements for babbitt components or be incorporated into new designs.

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