Application of Compliant Fluid-Film Bearings to the High-Pressure Oxygen Turbopump of the SSME

Heshmat, H., Shapiro, W. and Artiles, A. “Application of Compliant Fluid-Film Bearings to the High-Pressure Oxygen Turbopump of the SSME,” Advanced Earth-to-Orbit Propulsion Technology 1992, proceedings of a conference held at NASA’s George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, (1992) NASA Conference Publication CP-3174, Vol. II, pp. 429-439.

Fluid-film bearings applied to the High-Pressure Oxygen Turbopump (HPOTP)of the SSME show promise of benefiting overall HPOTP performance and reliability.  Rotor response, stability margin, and bearing life may be substantially improved.  Complications are introduced by the requirements to externally pressurize the bearings, but the benefits far outweigh the liabilities.  Compliant fluid-film bearings can accommodate shaft excursions, centrifugal growth, and dimensional changes due to large thermal variations in the environment, while maintaining appropriate bearing clearances.  This paper discusses the application of compliant foil and tilting-pad bearings to the HPOTP.


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