During the 1980s, Don Bently and Dr. Agnes Muszynskashowed that whirl and whip fluid-induced instabilities wereactually manifestations of the same phenomenon, not separatemalfunctions as previously believed. This groundbreaking work,modeling the two malfunctions in a single, harmonized,modern algorithm, is summarized in the April 1989 issue of
in the article “Fluid-Generated Instabilities of Rotors” .Fluid-induced instability can originate in bearings or seals, butmost often in fluid-film bearings; it appears suddenly andwithout warning, as the rotor speed reaches a particularthreshold speed, which we call the Bently-MuszynskaThreshold of Instability. Through rotor stability analysis, we canobtain a very useful expression for the Threshold of Instability,
is the Fluid Circumferential Velocity Ratio, ameasure of fluid circulation around the rotor,
is therotor system spring stiffness, and
is the rotor systemmass.There is an important point regarding this equation: Ifthe rotor speed is less than
, then the rotor systemwill be stable. Or to look at it another way, if
the operating speed
, then the rotor system willbe stable. Thus, to ensure rotor stability, all we have to do iskeep the Threshold of Instability above our highest anticipatedoperating speed.Rotor dynamic stability analysis itself is a separate topic, bestperformed using a technique called Root Locus Analysis, andcovered in a previous
article . Root Locus waspioneered by Walter Evans, a brilliant control systems engineer,and represents one of the most important contributionseverintroducedto the field of control. It is covered in Evans’ own textas well as numerous other modern texts, two of which arenoted at the end of this article [4,5].
One way the Threshold of Instability is commonly raised is toreduce
. You can see in Equation 1 that if we reduce
, we willincrease
is a measure of the amount of fluid circulationin the bearing or seal, and it can beinfluenced by the geometry of the bearingor seal, the rate of end leakage out of thebearing or seal, the eccentricity ratio of therotor in the bearing or seal, and thepresence of any pre- or antiswirling thatmay exist in the fluid. Fluid-inducedinstability originating in fluid-film bearings iscommonly controlled by bearing designs that break upcircumferential flow. Examples of such bearings include tiltingpad, lemon bore, elliptical, and pressure dam bearings.
canalso be reduced by antiswirl injection of fluid into the offendingbearing or seal.
Fluid-induced instability can also be eliminated by increasingthe rotor system spring stiffness,
. This article shows how anexternally pressurized bearing or seal can be used to controlfluid-induced instability by increasing
. First, however, weneed to discuss how the various sources of spring stiffnesscombine to produce the symptoms of whirl and whip.
A flexible rotor can be thought of as a mass that is supportedby a shaft spring, which is in turn supported by a bearingspring (Figure 1). Thus
actually consists of two springs inseries, the shaft spring,
, and the bearing spring,
. Forthese two springs connected in series, the stiffness of thecombination is given by these equivalent expressions:
4Q01 ORBIT 43
whirl and whip can be
without introducing the disadvantages inherent inother commonly applied technologies."“To eliminate
, add stiffness at the
; to eliminate
, add stiffness at or near the center of the