Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



A promising mechanical bearing candidate for active operation is the tilting-pad bearing. The proposed active tilting-pad bearing has linear actuators that radially translate each pad. The use of feedback control in determining the actuator forces allows for the automatic, continuous adjustment of the pad position during the operation of the rotating machine. In the first part of the dissertation, we develop a nonlinear dynamic model of the active bearing system. The hydrodynamic force produced by the fluid film is modeled as a nonlinear, squeeze-film damper plus repellent spring. A model-based nonlinear controller is then designed to exponentially regulate the rotor position to the origin. A proof-of-concept experiment shows that the active strategy improves the bearing performance relative to its traditional passive operation. Further, the experiment demonstrates that the model-based nonlinear control regulates the rotor comparably to a linear PID control, but requires significantly less control energy. The second part of the dissertation introduces a new type of active fluid-film bearing which actively adjusts the angular velocity of the pads of a tilting-pad bearing. This is motivated by the observation that there is more control authority in the pad tilting motion than in its radial translation. To this end, a dynamic model for the bearing system is developed, inclusive of the nonlinear hydrodynamic force for the infinitely-short bearing case. A model-based controller is then constructed, based on measurements of the journal position and velocity and pad tilting angles, to ensure that the journal is asymptotically regulated to the bearing center. Numerical simulations illustrate the performance of the active bearing under the proposed control in comparison with the bearing's standard passive mode of operation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

De Queiroz, Marcio