GGB bearings pass tests simulating conditions at Brazil’s Belo Monte hydropower plant

Materials manufacture by GGB Bearing Technology recently underwent laboratory testing to determine their suitability for extended wicket gate service at Brazil’s 11.2-GW Belo Monte hydropower project.

Testing of GGB‘s “HPM” bearings was conducted by Powertech Labs in accordance with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers specifications, with modifications made to simulate 30 years of operation rather than a standard eight years.

The study simulated actual operating conditions at Belo Monte and even used water from the Xingu River where the project will be located.

GGB Bearing Technology said its bearings were first subjected to a static load with rotary and oscillating motion under both wet and dry conditions. They then underwent accelerated wear testing testing with a dynamic radial load on a journal moving continuously plus-minus one degree. The static load remained constant, but the dynamic load was paused every 15 minutes to simulate a turbine wicket gate opening plus-minus 15 degrees.

“The bearings performed well with little evidence of operating stress,” GGB said. “Significantly it was demonstrated that their coefficient of friction and wear rate decrease as running time increases.”

The company’s HPM products are self-lubricated, filament-wound bearings which consists of a fiberglass-reinforced epoxy resin support layer and a sliding layer of polyester fibers with PTFE and other additives.

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