Experimental investigation of a plain bearing integrated energy harvesting system for the operation of an autarkic, temperature-based condition monitoring system

Thao Baszenski


Plain bearings are subject to increasingly greater and more complex loads, resulting in an increased risk of damage. This trend increases the relevance of condition monitoring, which can detect improper operating conditions in early stages. Commercially available condition monitoring systems for plain bearings are characterized by retrofitted sensors as well as an external, wired power supply and data processing. Especially the external cabling results in an increased installation effort.

The monitoring approach followed is based on the temperature-based determination of the lubrication gap height of the plain bearing for the detection of operating conditions in the mixed friction area. For this purpose, energy-efficient temperature sensors are integrated into the plain bearing to measure the temperature map near the running track. The displacement angle of the shaft is determined using the temperature map determined in-operando. Finally, the goal of gap height-based condition monitoring can be achieved by calculating the lubrication gap height from the displacement angle via the DIN standardized GÜMBEL curve. Data processing is performed using a microcontroller integrated into the plain bearing, which features interfaces for wireless status transmission and alarm transmission.

In this presentation, the design of an autarkic, component-integrated condition monitoring system for hydrodynamic radial plain bearings is presented. The focus of this presentation is on the experimental evaluation of the possibility of thermoelectric energy generation using thermogenerators (TEGs) located within the bearing volume. The TEGs used utilize the available waste heat from the ambient conditions and convert it into electrical energy. Based on the experimentally determined energy budget, a permanently operable low-energy condition monitoring system is defined.

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