The objective of this investigation is to develop a novel powder-lubricated rotor bearing system damper concept for use in high-temperature, high-speed rotating machinery such as advanced aircraft gas turbine engines. The approach discussed herein consists of replacing a conventional oil lubrication or frictional damper system with a powder lubrication system that uses the process particulates or externally-fed powder lubricant. Unlike previous work in this field, this approach is based on the postulate of the quasi-hydrodynamic nature of powder lubrication. This postulate is deduced from past observation and present verification that there are a number of basic features of powder flow in narrow interfaces that have the characteristic behavior of fluid film lubrication. In addition to corroborating the basic mechanism of powder lubrication, the conceptual and experimental work performed in this program provides guidelines for selection of the proper geometries, materials and powders suitable for this tribological process. The present investigation describes the fundamentals of quasi-hydrodynamic powder lubrication and defines the rationale underlying the design of the test facility. The performance and the results of the experimental program present conclusions reached regarding design requirements as well as the formulation of a proper model of quasi-hydrodynamic powder lubrication.

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