Fundamentals of Fluid Film Bearings for Machinery Engineers


Widely used in turbomachinery, the fluid film bearing is critical to a machine’s overall reliability level. Their design complexity and application severity continue to increase, making it challenging for the machinery engineer to evaluate their reliability. In this course, all the important aspects of fluid film journal and thrust bearings will be covered, including their operation, analytical modeling, design, manufacturing, as well as how they affect a machine’s overall rotordynamics. While some theory will be presented, it will focus on the underlying physics, basic concepts, design impacts and problem resolution. The knowledge will be further reinforced through several case studies and class exercises. At the end of the course, the attendees shall have good understanding of the fundamental physics, know the important design and operating parameters and how they affect a bearing’s performance, understand how analytical tools can be used to predict this performance, and be able to assess and critique bearing analysis technical reports.


The attendee should have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or at least one year of experience with rotating machinery.


Dr. Minhui He is a co-founder of BRG Machinery Consulting LLC, in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. His main responsibilities include vibration troubleshooting, rotordynamic analysis, bearing and seal analysis and design. He is also conducting research on rotordynamics and hydrodynamic bearings. Dr. He received his B.S. degree (Chemical Machinery Engineering, 1994) from Sichuan University in China. From 1996 to 2003, he conducted research on fluid film journal bearings in the ROMAC Laboratories at the University of Virginia, receiving his Ph.D. (Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 2003). He is a member of ASME, STLE, and the advisory committee for Texas A&M’s Asia Turbomachinery and Pump Symposium.

James M. Byrne has been a consultant with BRG Machinery Consulting since 2007. Mr. Byrne began his career designing internally geared centrifugal compressors for Carrier in Syracuse, New York. He continued his career at Pratt and Whitney aircraft engines and became a technical leader for rotordynamics. Later, Mr. Byrne became a program manager for Pratt and Whitney Power Systems, managing the development of new gas turbine products. From 2001 to 2007, he was President of Rotating Machinery Technology, a manufacturer of journal and thrust, fixed and tilting pad bearings. Mr. Byrne holds a BSME degree from Syracuse University, an MSME degree from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of the API 613 special purpose gear unit task force.