Flexure Pivot® Journal Bearings (FPJBs) have typically been used in small high-speed applications such as Integrally Geared Compressors (IGCs) and multistage high-speed compressors, where the temperature management and the rotordynamic stability of the machine are the main targets. Nevertheless, the need for high-speed applications may also be applicable to large compressors and for this reason a large 280mm diameter four-pad FPJB with L/D = 0.7 has been designed, built and tested by the Authors.

The test facility is a novel rig, set up at the University of Pisa, that includes a floating test bearing and a rigid rotor supported by two stiff rolling element bearings. Both static and dynamic loads are applied through hydraulic actuators, capable of 270kN static and 40kN overall dynamic load.

The instrumentation can measure all the relevant test boundary conditions as well as the static and dynamic quantities that characterize the bearing performance.

This paper presents the results from a test campaign conceived to explore not only the design conditions (7000rpm rotational speed and 0.75MPa unit load) but also the sensitivity to the unit load (from 0.2MPa minimum load up to 2.2MPa maximum load) as well as the oil flow. The results are discussed and compared with predictions from an existing numerical code.

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