Recently, laser beam machining and micro drills have made it easier to manufacture small feed holes of less than 0.1 mm diameter. Accordingly, aerostatic bearings with these small feed holes have become commercially available for improving bearing performance. In this work, an aerostatic annular thrust bearing with small feed holes of less than 0.05 mm diameter was treated and the static and the dynamic characteristics of this type of bearing were investigated numerically. In numerical calculations, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was used to determine discharge coefficients for a small feed hole and the finite difference method (FDM) was used to obtain the bearing characteristics. In addition, the characteristics of this type of bearing were compared with those of aerostatic thrust bearings with typical compound restrictors to show clearly the features of this type of bearing. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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