In order to optimize supporting structures of bulb tubular pump units and improve the properties, the supports of bulb tubular pump units were divided into 3 hierarchies， i.e. the bearing block support, the bulb support and the pump body support. The support forms of 3 typical bulb tubular pump units were investigated. The shaft deformations and fatigue strength safety factors were calculated through force analysis. Several typical support forms were compared in pump unit reliability, installation, maintainability and overall structure, and the pump system hydraulic performances. The design principles and methods of bulb tubular pump unit supports were put forward in bearing number and their arrangement and installation, the bulb supports and the pump body supports. The results show that supporting forms of bulb tubular pump units affect reliability, stability, installation and maintainability of the pump units and the pump system hydraulic performances. The flexivities of motor rotor and pump impeller reach 0.19~0.39 mm and 0.22~0.62 mm, respectively. The oil film thicknesses of journal bearings and rolling bearings are 0.41~0.53 mm and 0.12~0.17 mm, respectively. When determining the installation height of the bearing saddle, the flexivities of the rotor and the impeller and oil film thicknesses of the bearings should be considered so that the motor's air gap and the clearance between pump blade and shell are evenly distributed. The reliability and hydraulic performances of bulb tubular pump units could be improved by reasonably arranging guide bearings, adopting radiating plate support of the bulb, combining the maintenance channel and the main support which is under the bulb, and using the metal pipe pump structure. The achievements could provide references to optimum design of bulb tubular pump units.
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