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COOLANT FLOW CONTROL SYSTEM FOR A LIQUID-METAL FILLED ANODE BEARING IN AN X-RAY APPARATUS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates to coolant flow control systems, and more particularly, to a flow control system e.g. for Gallium filled bearing in a rotating anode-type X-ray apparatus.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Generally, rotating anode-type X-ray apparatus use liquid metal filled bearings such as Gallium filled bearings for supporting an anode for generation of X-rays within an X-ray tube.
 Such liquid metal filled bearings use a variety of sealing configurations such as, for example, a contact type sealing and a non-contact type sealing, for sealing the liquid metal within the bearing.
 In a non-contact type-sealing configuration, the sealing is effected by the surface tension created in the liquid metal that flows along the circumferential direction between a rotating shaft and a stationary housing, wherein the clearance between the rotating and stationary parts is inn the order of few microns.
 In such non-contact type-sealing configuration, especially for a liquid metal filled ball bearing, a velocity and a pressure spike is created (see FIG. 1) due to the flow of the liquid metal through the space between rotating/spinning balls and the bearing races.
 Generally, due to space constraints, the end face of the seal is configured very close to the end face of the bearing, due to which the spike creates a flow instability, which tends to substantially affect the performance of the seal.
 Thus, known systems do not provide for a coolant flow control system, wherein the liquid metal flow does not create any spike and hence provide a high seal performance and improved bearing endurance.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 In an embodiment, a coolant flow control system in a liquid-metal filled anode bearing in an X-ray apparatus comprises a flow straightener disposed in-between a bearing and a clearance seal, wherein the flow straightener substantially reduces the velocity and pressure spike at the end face of the seal.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 shows the flow pattern in a conventional bearing.
 FIG. 2 shows the cross-section of a liquid metal cooled bearing with a coolant flow control system according to one embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 3 shows a side view of a bearing shaft and a clearance seal according to one embodiment of the present invention.
 FIG. 4A-4C show a cross-section of the clearance seal according to various embodiments of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 Various embodiments of the present invention describe a c...