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Test Study for Bi-directional Thrust Bearing

Sun Yutian, Member of CIGRE, Wu Zhongde, Wu Junling, Chi Su, Member of CIGRE,
Thomas Kunz and Daniel Schafer

Abstract-- The range of bi-directional thrust bearing


parameters of large pumped storage hydroelectric unit is
presented in this paper. The test of performance parameters
for bi-directional thrust bearing was done at 3000ton thrust
bearing test stand. To get detailed information about the
distribution of the oil film thickness, pressure and
temperature of the test bearing pads, the characteristics of bidirectional thrust bearing were tested by means of computer
data acquisition system. Valuable measurement data were
obtained. The results show that bi-directional thrust bearing
parameters designed here are reasonable, and reliable to
various bi-directional thrust bearing application.
Index Terms-- Bi-directional thrust Bearing, Test Data
acquisition system

I. INTRODUCTION

ITH the development of power system, there are


higher requirements for adjustable performance of
electric grid. Large pumped storage hydroelectric unit is
the best power unit for peak power adjustment of electric
grid. There are several large pumped storage hydroelectric
units such as power stations of Guangzhou, Shisanling and
Tianhuangping that put into operation recent years in
China. There will be many new pumped storage projects
like Baoquan, Huizhou, Pushihe, etc. in building or biding.
For thrust bearings with center supporting structure, bidirectional operation is the key technique to hydroelectric
generators. Techniques of thrust bearing design and
manufacture are very important for large capacity
generators. In order to optimize the design of such thrust
bearings, HEC has made an effort to investigate design and
performance of thrust bearings by means of tests. A 3000
ton thrust bearing test stand in HEC provides a perfect test
condition for the bi-directional thrust bearing test.
II. PURPOSE OF THE TEST INVESTIGATION

A. Advantage of investigation by experiment


z
It is a way to verify the design of bi-directional thrust
bearings. According to general technical parameters of
bi-directional thrust bearings of the machines in
Dr. Sun Yutian, Wu Zhongde, Wu Junling and Chi Su are with Harbin
Research Institute of Large Electrical Machinery. No 51 Sandadongli
Road, Harbin, 150040, P.R. China.
Thomas Kunz and Daniel Schafer are with ALSTOM (Switzerland)
Ltd.

operation or being in operation, the practicability of


bearing system was demonstrated by the test of various
bi-directional thrust bearing.
HEC has the chance to verify the design before
implementation of the generating units
Obtaining the experience of bi-directional bearings in
manufacture and operation for large pumped storage
hydroelectric units.
Comparison between design calculation and test.

B. Possibility of the test investigation


In order to investigate thrust bearings by experiment,
HEC has built up a 3000 ton thrust bearing test stand in
eighties. For the thrust bearings of units in Yantan power
station (load up to 26.98 MN) and Three Gorges power
station (load up to 58.8 MN), pads with Babbitt and Teflon
liner have been successfully tested on the test stand. In this
way, experience of testing such bearings has been
obtained. Moreover, HEC has rich experience in design
and manufacture of large thrust bearings.
III. DESIGN OF THE TEST MODEL
According to the particularity of 3000 ton thrust bearing
test stand and requirement of large pumped storage
hydroelectric unit, the model design takes such a principle
as follows, the bi-directional thrust bearing model is
designed as a double layer pad according to various bidirectional thrust bearing.
A. Parameters
In the higher rotational speed, the specified rated load of
the bearing is 960 ton; 80ton per pad, specific pressure is
3.7MPa. In the highest rotational speed, the specified rated
load of the bearing is 750 t, 62.5t per pad, specific pressure
is 3.0MPa. The range of bi-directional thrust bearing
parameters for large pumped storage hydroelectric units is
2~4MPa, 50~60ton at present.
The parameters of the test model for rated load are
shown in table 1.
The maximum runner diameter of the test stand made it
necessary to shift the original bearing pads to a bigger
diameter. The mean diameter of the bearing was changed
from 2042 mm to 3392 mm in the test stand. To keep the
tangential velocity unchanged, the rotational speed was
decreased from 500 rpm to 220 rpm in the test stand.

IV. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EXPERIMENT


TABLE I.

THE PARAMETERS OF TEST MODEL

Parameter

Unit

Rated Thrust load

MN

9600

7500

Rated speed

r/min

140

220

12

12

Number of pad

A. Items of the experiments


The measured physical parameters are shown in table 2.

Test model

TABLE II.

ITEMS OF THE EXPERIMENTS

Outer diameter of runner

Mm

3850

3850

No.

Inner diameter of runner

Mm

2850

2850

Angle (at medium diameter)

Rad.

0.255

0.255

Pressure distribution in the oil film

Radial length (mean value)

Mm

500

500

Oil inlet and outlet temperature

Tangential width (mean value)

Mm

427

427

Load on each pad and deformation of elastic disc

Temperature distribution in one thrust bearing pad

Tangential eccentricity
Radial eccentricity

Items of the experiments


Thickness distribution of the oil film

4.2

4.2

Temperature, flow and pressure of the oil

Mean velocity

m/s

24.6

38.6

Total load

Rated Specific pressure

MPa

3.7

3.0

Temperature of the lubricating oil

B. Supporting structure
Supporting system is an important part of a thrust
bearing. It has a big influence on the load distribution
between the pads. Elastic disc was adopted in the test
bearings.
During erection of the test stand the elastic discs were
adjusted to an even load distribution within the discrepancy
of 5%. This shows that the bearings work properly even
when load distribution is not ideal.
C. Cooling system
Due to the particularity of bi-directional thrust bearing,
runner pumps and two external circulating coolers are used
(See Figure 1). The cold oil temperature is adjusted by
controlling the cooling water flow.
Runner pump

Oil
delivery
pipe

Contact sealing

Oil collector

Filter
Temperarure sensors
Pressure sensors

out

Temperature distribution in the runner

10

Temp., flow and pressure of the cooling water

11

Rotating speed

12

Temperature of each pad

B. Method of measurement and data acquisition


To get detailed information about the pressure and oil
film thickness distribution of the individual test bearing
pads, pressure transducer and eddy current displacement
sensors have been installed in the runner. This concept
enables simultaneous measurements on all of the 12 pads at
different radial locations during operation.
Temperature sensors are installed at different locations
of a bearing pad and runner to measure temperature
distribution. By measuring the water temperature at inlet
and outlet of the oil cooling system and quantity of cooling
water, the thrust bearing losses is determined.
Displacement sensors are installed under the elastic disc
of each pad to determine the total axial load and the load
distribution to all pads.
C. Data acquisition
A brief description of the measurement instruments and
their arrangement is shown in Fig. 2

Cooler
in

Fig.1 cooling system

Windows 2000
PC

VXI
system

4 pressure sensors in oil collector


1 pressure sensors for total load
80 temperature sensors
12 displacement sensors for load measurement
2 flowmeters

Wireless MODEM

D. Material for pad surface


According to specification for the bi-directional thrust
bearings, a 4 mm tin based Babbitt liner covers the sliding
surface of the pad.
E. High pressure system
The existing high pressure system of the test stand is
used. The maximum pressure is 15MPa; the capacity of the
pump is 37.5 L/min. Two non-return valves and one
throttle valve are in each supply line to the 12 pads. The
high pressure openings in the pad are new structure, 2
parallel slots in tangential direction with a distance similar
to the diameter of the traditional high pressure pocket.
These slots facilitate the function of the high-pressure
system and reduce the disturbance of the hydrodynamic oil
film.

220V AC

static

EO slip ring
Opto-electronic coder

rotating
Wireless MODEM

Wireless MODEM

Wireless MODEM

RS485
C8051F020
monolithic
processor

RS485
C8051F020
monolithic
processor

RS485
SWP
16 Tem.
acquisition

4 pressure sensors

5 distance sensors

15 RT100

Trigger pulse
220V AC
AC/DC

30V DC

Fig. 2 Block diagram of the data acquisition system

D. Pressure distribution measurement


The pressure distribution in the oil film is measured by
means of 4 special sensors installed at different radial
positions of the thrust bearing runner (see Fig. 3). The
sensors were manufactured by Kistler. Measurement range
is form 0 to 20MPa, Overall accuracy is 0.3%.

elastic disc deformation is measured and with elastic disc


properties the load force of each pad can be calculated.
Resolution of force measurement is 0.8ton

pressure sensors

H. Water and oil flow measurement


The oil flow is measured by means of 2 LW-100 turbine
flowmeters installed in external loop pipe. Cooling water
flow is measured by means of 1 LW-160 turbine
flowmeters installed in the water pipe (inlet). Overall
accuracy: 0.5%.

V. TEST ANALYSIS

140

distance sensors

A. Test conditions
To get a realistic simulation of overall behaviour of the
bearings, speed and load for the test were set as shown in
table 3.

temperature sensors

TABLE III.

top view

Speed
(r/min)

No.

Fig. 3 Sensor location in the runner ring

LOAD CASE (BI-DIRECTION)

Load
(t)

Remark
HP system working properly

E. Oil film thickness measurement


The oil film thickness is measured by means of 5 special
sensors installed in the thrust-bearing runner at different
radial positions (see Fig. 3). The sensors were
manufactured by Bently. Measurement range is 0 to 2000
m.

185

140

185

140

500

140

750

140

960

220

185

220

500

F. Temperature measurement
As a basis to verify the simulated thermal deflections of
the thrust bearing pads and the runner, the temperature
distribution in these components must be measured with
very high accuracy. Due to this requirement HEC has
installed thermistors developed and manufactured by
ALSTOM-CH (Fig.4). Overall accuracy standard
thermistores: 0.1 K

220

750

HP system working at all start and stop

B. Measurement results
The load distribution was measured with the load
measuring system under the elastic discs. The load
distribution over all pads proves a well-developed oil film
thickness for each pad. The maximum pressure of the HP
system is 15MPa. The rotor lifting heights at different
loads were shown in table4, 5. For speed 140.1r/min load
9.591MN Load distribution is shown in fig. 5.
TABLE IV.

MAIN DATA OF HP SYSTEM

Total load

185

Mean load per pad

15.4

Oil Flow

L/min

36

Oil pressure

MPa

3.7

Rotor lifting height

120

TABLE V.

h=- 16
h=- 35

ROTOR LIFTING HEIGHT

Total load
Rotor lifting height

185

923

120

37

1000

h=- 170

G. Load measurement
To measure the load distribution of the thrust bearing
pads 12 displacement sensors were installed under the
elastic discs. By means of these very sensitive sensors the

Load (kN)

Fig. 4 Temperature sensor distribution in the test pad

800
600
400
200
0

Fig.5 Load distribution

10

11

12

TABLE VI.
No.
1

Items of the experiments


Rotor speed (r/min)

MAIN DATA

operating
mode 1
139. 4

operating
mode 2
140.2

operating
mode 3
-140.3

operating
mode 4
140.1

operating
mode 5
-139. 5

operating
mode 6
-220.1
7.453

Load (MN)

5.00

7.36

7.58

9.591

9.52

Mean velocity (m/s)

24.6

24.6

24.6

24.6

24.6

38.6

Guard temperature on sensor pad 1 ( )

64.2

71.2

71.1

76.3

76.3

81.6

Specific bearing load (MPa)

1.9

2.8

2.8

3.7

3.7

2.9

Min oil film thickness on pad 2 (m)

46

32

30

30

30

40

Max oil film pressure on pad 2 (MPa)

4.6

7.5

7.6

9.2

9.3

6.8

Temperature before cooler ( )

37.0

39.1

38.8

41.2

41.2

54.4

Temperature after cooler ( )

22.0

23.0

21.8

23.3

23.3

34.0

10

Temperature of the oil in the bath ( )

35.1~37.6

36.9~39.4

36.9~39.4

38.0~40.4

38.0~40.4

50.5~52.3

11

oil flow (L/min)

1280.0

1284.0

1204.0

1206.0

1206.0

1950.0

12

Pressure of runner pump (outlet) (MPa)

0.13

0.13

0.13

0.13

0.13

0.26

13

Pressure of oil delivery pip(outlet) (MPa)

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.03

0.08

14

Temperature of cooling water (inlet) ( )

8.5

8.6

6.8

8.6

8.6

9.6

15

Temperature of cooling water (outlet) ( )

12.2

12.6

10.1

12.9

12.9

11.3

16

Water flow (L/min)

2160.0

2148.0

2718.0

2130.0

2130.0

4320.0

17

Bearing losses (kW)

542

584

578

610

610

1100

Main measurement results are shown in table 6 and fig.


6~10.
During speed -139.5r/min
load 9.52MN, the
temperature distribution of the pad is shown in fig. 6~8,
thickness distribution of the oil film is shown in fig. 9,

pressure distribution in the oil film is shown in fig. 10.


The thermistores are situated at the cross points of the
figures. The isotherms, the maximum and the values at the
borders are interpolated by the routine AKIMA, a cubic
spline algorithm.

Fig.6 Temperature distribution in thrust pad, 16 mm below surface ( )

Fig.8 Temperature distribution in load-carrying layer of pad, 170 mm


below surface ( )

80

30

120
100
110

100
160
150
140130110
120

80

90

40

60

90

50
70
90

90

120
140130
170 160
200 180
150

100
100
110

80

110
120
130

Fig.7 Temperature distribution in thrust pad, 35 mm below surface ( )

Fig.9 Measured oil film thickness in m at pad 2

Fig.10 Measured oil film pressure in m at pad 2

The distance sensors measure at 5 circular lines over all


pads. The isolines, the maximum value and boundary
values are interpolated by the interpolation routine
AKIMA. This spline routine overestimates all tendencies
in the extrapolated region. The waves on the border
probably result from the extrapolation method.
The pressure sensors measure pressure at 4 circular
lines over all pads. The isolines, the maximum value and
boundary values are interpolated by the routine AKIMA.
This spline routine overestimates all tendencies in the
extrapolated region. The waves on the border probably
result from the extrapolation method.

VI. CONCLUSIONS
It has been confirmed that the bi-directional bearing
design for the large pumped storage hydroelectric unit is
appropriate and working well. During operation under the
same speed and load, the performance of bearings is the
same when rotating at both directions (clockwise and
counterclockwise).
The supporting system with elastic disc and the external
loop with runner pump provide good performance of the
bi-directional thrust bearing.
Agitation loss is larger during high speed operation.
The design developed in this paper provides a reliable
way to design bi-directional thrust bearing, and it is
suitable for various sector pivoted pad thrust bearings.
The design and test of large bi-directional thrust bearing
is first in China. Experience in the technology of large bidirectional thrust bearing is obtained.
VII. REFERENCES
[1]

Daniel Schafer, Shen Liangwei, Investigations into a 6000t Thrust


Bearing with Teflon Layer or Babbitt Layer for the Three Gorges
Units, Proceeding of the Fifth International Conference on Electric
Machines and System, Volume I, Shenyang, P. R. China, August,
2001.
[2] Wu Zhongde, Wang Liqin, Analysis of Thermoelastic
Hydrodynamic Lubrication Performance of Thrust Bearings for
Large Hydrogenerators, Journal of Tribology, 2001, 21(2).
[3] Bai Yannian, Design and Calculation of Hydrogenerators, Beijing
Mechanical Industry Press, 1982.