Tilting-pad journal bearings are installed with increased frequency owing to their dynamic stability characteristics in several rotating machine applications, typically in high rotating speed cases. This usually happens for new installations in highspeed compressors or during revamping operations of steam and gas turbines for power generation. The selection from a catalogue, or the design of a new bearing, requires the knowledge of the bearing characteristics such as babbitt metal temperatures, fluid-film thickness, load capacity, stiffness and damping coefficients. Temperature and fluid-film thickness are essential for the safety of the bearing. Babbitt metal is subject to creep at high temperatures, as it happens at high speed operations. On the contrary, at low speed or with high loads, oil-film thickness could be too low, resulting in metal to metal contact. Oil-film dynamic coefficients are largely responsible of the dynamic behaviour and of the stability of the rotor-tilting-pad-bearing system. Therefore, the theoretical evaluation and/or the experimental estimation of these coefficients are mandatory in the design phase. The theoretical evaluation of these coefficients for tilting pad journal bearings is difficult due to their complex geometry, boundary and thermal conditions and turbulent flow, whereas an experimental characterization requires a suitable test rig. The paper describes the test rig designed to this purpose and its unusual configuration with respect to other test rigs available in literature. Some preliminary tests performed for the bearing characterization are also shown.

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