Observer-Based Control of Tilting-Pad Thrust Bearings

Smith, Edward H orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0093-4463 (2022) Observer-Based Control of Tilting-Pad Thrust Bearings. Lubricants, 10 (11). pp. 1-11.

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The active control of hydrodynamic bearings is beginning to receive more attention in the pursuit of lower power losses and reduced maintenance. This paper presents a method by which, from simple measurements, rich information can be deduced from a running bearing that can used to modify the operating parameters of the unit. The bearing is a line-pivot, unidirectional,
steadily loaded, directly lubricated tilting pad thrust bearing. This control is achieved by designing an Observer whose inputs include the output measurement(s) from the bearing. The Observer is, in some ways, an inverse model of the bearing (or Plant) that runs in parallel to the bearing and estimates the states of the bearing, such as the applied load, pivot height, minimum film thickness, maximum temperature, effective temperature and power loss. These estimated parameters can then
be used in a control algorithm to modify bearing parameters such as inlet temperature or pivot location. It is demonstrated that disturbances in the load on the bearing can be detected simply by measuring a representative temperature in the bearing or changes in pivot height. Appropriate corrective action can then be employed. Whilst only steady-state operation is considered, the method could be developed to study time-varying situations.

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