Stability Analysis of Floating Ball Bearing

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Tribology Transactions


Conventional disk drive motors supported on ball bearings (BBs) cause nonrepeatable runout (NRRO) due to the surface imperfections on balls and raceways. NRRO is a source of track misregistration between head and disk that inhibits high track density in a hard disk drive. Fluid dynamic bearings with herringbone grooves either on the rotating or stationary surfaces are a suitable replacement for conventional ball bearings. Herringbone grooved bearings have considerably lower noise level than ball bearings and have better stability compared to plain journal bearings at concentric operating position. However, herringbone-grooved patterns are difficult to manufacture because groove depth is of the order of bearing clearance. The major limitation of the BBs is the direct contact between the rotating and stationary parts and also lack of damping effects. This present work attempts to overcome these drawbacks in BBs by eliminating the metal-to-metal contact using a layer of fluid film, and a theoretical analysis of stability characteristics of a floating BB is presented. Results indicate that there is an improvement in the stability of floating BB rotor systems with increase in outer to inner film clearance ratio (β) from 0.7 to 1.3, and with decrease in ratio of outer race radius to inner race radius (δ) from 3.0 to 1.2.