This paper summarizes the chronological progress of foil air bearings for turbomachinery during the last 25 years. Descriptions of various machines which are in production are provided. The foil bearing air cycle machine on the 747 aircraft has demonstrated an MTBF (mean time between failure) in excess of 100,000 hours. Many advantages of foil air bearings are noted. Various designs of foil air bearings presently in use and their relative merits are described. Analytical methods, their limitations, and their relationships with test results are noted. Descriptions of various machines built and tested in process fluids being gases, other than air, and cryogenic liquids are described. Conclusions are drawn that various high speed turbomachines including high temperature applications can be designed and developed using foil air bearings which will increase efficiency and reduce cost of these machines.

This content is only available via PDF.