TE99 - Experiment


A bench mounting Michell pad apparatus to demonstrate the principle characteristics of a tilting pad slider bearing.

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The Department of Mechanical Engineering (Imperial College, London), created the original design for this apparatus. It mimics a tilting pad fluid-lubricated slider bearing, invented by A G M Michell.

The bench-mounting unit has an aluminium plate (pad) mounted above a continuous loop flat belt. The belt runs in an oil reservoir to provide a continuous supply of oil under the pad. This creates a pressurised film of oil between the pad and the belt.

A set of thirteen graduated tubes show the oil pressure across and along the film under the pad.

Included is a variable speed control to control the speed of the motor that turns the belt. Students vary the belt speed to find the relationship between sliding speed, oil viscosity and pressure distribution.

Two eccentric shafts hold the pad so students can adjust the angle of tilt of the pad. This helps students to find the relationship between pressure distribution and film thickness. Micrometers measure the leading and trailing edge positions of the pad.

Included with the apparatus is a container of oil and a viscometer to measure the viscosity of the oil.

Learning outcomes

  • Pressure distributions in a tilting pad bearing.
  • Influence of sliding speed and viscosity on the pressure distribution in the bearing and comparison with calculations based on Reynold’s equation.
  • The relationship between pressure and the film thickness at the trailing edge of the pad.
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