The Care and Feeding of Fluid Film Babbitt Bearings

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Lyle Branagan
Lyle BranaganEngineering Manager

P.E., B.S.M.E. (with Honors), M.S., Ph.D.,
The University of Virginia

After his undergraduate college years, Lyle began his career as a mechanical engineer with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in northern California, but after five years he took a leave of absence to obtain his Masters and Doctorate, based on his advanced research on temperature gradients in fixed geometry and tilting pad bearings. Returning to PG&E, Lyle excelled as a rotordynamics engineer, gaining solid design and hands-on operations experience with bearings and vibration in large turbomachinery. He was a hands-on member of the start-up team for PG&E’s Helms Pump Storage Generating Station and the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Since joining Pioneer in 1996, Lyle has gained an industry-wide reputation not only for his intellectual strength and accomplishments, but for his modesty, good humor, and pleasant personality. When Lyle is not traveling the world on business for Pioneer, he enjoys going to exotic destinations with his family. Lyle is a registered Mechanical Engineer in North Carolina and California.

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Presentation Synopsis

This presentation is designed to be a discussion regarding typical damage mechanisms found in fluid film bearings that are found in motors, pumps, turbines, and generators. Topics such as theory of operation, basic design features, materials of construction, and lubrication will be briefly reviewed. This basic information will be used to discuss some typical damage mechanisms observed in today’s fluid film bearings with an eye toward prevention of recurrence and recovery from the problem.

Key Takeaways for Users

Viewers will be able to look at post-service bearings with a better perception as to how markings and damage to the bearing surface would affect the continued operation and long-term reliability of the bearing, and therefore contributing to the the overall long term reliability of motors, pumps, turbines, generators, and other large rotating machinery. Furthermore, viewers will be able to relate those damage markings which are appropriate indicators to some specific degraded conditions within the machine, such as shaft currents and misalignment.