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Figure 5.--Self equalizing thrust bearings.
Figure 6.--Semi-rigid thrust bearing.
The self equalizing bearing, as the name implies, is designed to automatically equalize the load
between bearing shoes. Figure 5 is a simplified sketch of a self equalizing bearing. The bearings
consist of the bearing shoes, upper leveling plates, and lower leveling plates. The lower leveling
plates rest on the baseplate on blunt pivot points that allow them to rock slightly. The upper
leveling plates are each supported by two of the lower leveling plates. The bearing shoes are
mounted on top of the upper leveling plates and are free to pivot as necessary to form the oil
wedge. As can be seen in the figure, if one shoe is forced down due to higher loading, the lower
leveling plates on each side of the depressed shoe will tilt slightly, lifting the shoes on either side
of the depressed shoe. This action allows the self equalizing bearing to maintain equal loading
on all shoes even with slight inaccuracies in shoe thickness or alignment.
There are other less common type thrust bearing designs in use. The shoes of the semi-rigid
thrust bearing (figure 6) are designed with a pivot and rest on a layer of insulation. The
insulation is slightly compressible to provide some load equalization between shoes, similar to
the spring loaded bearing.
This Information is Reprinted From UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE
INTERIOR BUREAU OF RECLAMATION