Foil bearings were designed and fabricated to replace pivoted-shoe journal bearings in a Brayton cycle turboalternator, within space limitations and constraints imposed by the existing machine. The foil bearings were integrated into a unified assembly with the rotor, housing, seals, and gimbal-mounted thrust bearing, without changes and modifications of machine components other than the journal bearings. The gas-lubricated foil bearings, which require no external pressure-source, furnished a stable support for a 21.9 pound rotor in the vertical attitude at speeds to 43,200 rpm. Excellent wipe-wear characteristics permitted well over 1000 start-stop cycles, without deterioration of performance in the entire speed range. The paper reviews salient aspects of design, fabrication, and performance. An account is given of rotor dynamics during starting, stopping, and traversing the region of resonances. The state of journal and foil surfaces is examined following intensive start-stop cycling and high-speed runs over extended periods of time.

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