David Macmillan

Research student profile

Research degree: PhD programme
Start date: 2021

Research summary

Project title: Reduction of energy loss in tilting-pad thrust bearings by active control

Tilting-Pad Thrust Bearings are a tribological machine element widely used throughout industry in applications ranging from turbomachinery to vessel propulsion systems. They utilise a self-pressurised thin film of lubricant to separate surfaces in relative motion, providing a low friction contact and high-load capability.

Conventionally, Tilting-Pad Thrust Bearings operate as a passive device requiring no external control to function. The disadvantage of the passive bearing is the inability to monitor and adapt to changes in operating conditions leading to improved performance, reliability, and efficiency.

Implementation of a tribotronic system provides real-time active control with the objective to address some of the notable deficiencies. Such a system is realised by combining the mechanical function with sensors, controllers, and actuators to regulate features of design such as geometry and lubrication.

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Research Supervisor: Professor Ian Sherrington
Student: David Macmillan

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