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01 Death of Whirl Whip Print

01 Death of Whirl Whip Print

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Published by: Mohd Asiren Mohd Sharif on May 31, 2010
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RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
42ORBIT 4Q01
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
The Death of Whirl AND Whip
Use of Externally Pressurized Bearings and Sealsfor Control of Whirl and Whip Instability
Fluid-induced instability can occur whenever a fluid,
either liquid or gas, is trapped in a gap between twoconcentric cylinders, and one is rotating relative to the other.This situation exists when any part of a rotor is completelysurrounded by fluid trapped between the rotor and the stator,for example in fully lubricated (36lubricated) fluid-filmbearings, around impellers in pumps, or in seals. Fluid-inducedinstability typically manifests itself as a large amplitude, usuallysubsynchronous vibra-tion of a rotor, and it cancause rotor-to-stator rubs on seals,bearings, impellers, or other rotor and stator parts. Thevibration can also produce large-amplitude alternating stressesin the rotor, creating a fatigue environment that can result in ashaft crack. Fluid-induced instability is a potentially damagingoperating condition that must be avoided.
Editor’s Note: In the First Quarter 2001 issue of ORBIT, wefeatured an article titled “The Death of Whirl.” Whileimportant, whirl is not the only form of fluid-induced instability. Whip is often an even more vexing problem because it cannot generally be addressed by bearing stiffnessmodifications, but must beaddressed by rotor stiffness changes instead. In this article, we show how an externally pressurized bearing can be used as amid-span seal to effectively eliminate whip.The result? There is no longer any reason for a machine to suffer from either whirl or whip.
 
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
ORBIT 
in the article “Fluid-Generated Instabilities of Rotors” [1].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,
Ω 
th
:(1)where
λ 
is the Fluid Circumferential Velocity Ratio, ameasure of fluid circulation around the rotor,
 K 
is therotor system spring stiffness, and
 M 
is the rotor systemmass.There is an important point regarding this equation: Ifthe rotor speed is less than
Ω 
th
, then the rotor systemwill be stable. Or to look at it another way, if
Ω 
th
isabove
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
ORBIT 
article [2]. 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 text[3]as well as numerous other modern texts, two of which arenoted at the end of this article [4,5].
Controlling Lambda
One way the Threshold of Instability is commonly raised is toreduce
λ 
. You can see in Equation 1 that if we reduce
λ 
, we willincrease
Ω 
th
.
λ 
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.
λ 
canalso be reduced by antiswirl injection of fluid into the offendingbearing or seal.
Controlling Stiffness
Fluid-induced instability can also be eliminated by increasingthe rotor system spring stiffness,
 K 
. This article shows how anexternally pressurized bearing or seal can be used to controlfluid-induced instability by increasing
 K 
. First, however, weneed to discuss how the various sources of spring stiffnesscombine to produce the symptoms of whirl and whip.
Spring Model
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
 K 
actually consists of two springs inseries, the shaft spring,
 K 
, and the bearing spring,
 K 
 B
. Forthese two springs connected in series, the stiffness of thecombination is given by these equivalent expressions:
Ω 
th
 M 
=
1
λ 
4Q01 ORBIT 43
“ 
Both
whirl and whip can be
eliminated 
without introducing the disadvantages inherent inother commonly applied technologies."“To eliminate
whirl 
 , add stiffness at the
 bearing 
 ; to eliminate
whip
 , add  stiffness at or near the center of the
 shaft 
."
 
(2)For any series combination of springs, the stiffness of thecombination is always less than the stiffness of the weakestspring. The weak spring controls the combination stiffness. Forexample, assume that
 K 
 B
is significantly smaller than
 K 
. Thus,
 K 
is much larger than
 K 
 B
, and the middle equation can beused. As
 K 
becomes relatively large,
 K 
becomes approximatelyequal to
 K 
 B
. For this case, the system stiffness,
 K 
, can never behigher than
 K 
 B
; in practice it will always be less. Asimilar argument can be used with the rightmostequation when
 K 
 B
is relatively large compared to
;the system stiffness will always be lower than
 K 
 B
.
Eccentricity and Stiffness
Let’s assume that the source of the fluid-inducedinstability is a plain, cylindrical, hydrodynamicbearing, an example of an
internally pressurized bearing
. Typically, when the journal is close to thecenter of the bearing (the eccentricity ratio is small),the bearing stiffness is much lower than the shaftstiffness. In that case, the ratio
 K 
 B
 / 
 K 
is small, andthe middle of Equation 2 tells us that thecombination stiffness is a little less than
 K 
 B
. In otherwords,
at low eccentricity ratios, the bearing stiffness is the weak stiffness
and it controls thecombination stiffness.On the other hand, when the journal is locatedrelatively close to the bearing wall (the eccentricityratio is near 1) the bearing stiffness istypically much higher than the rotorshaft stiffness. Because of this, theratio
 K 
 / 
 K 
 B
is small. Then, therightmost of Equation 2 tells us thatthe combination stiffness is a littleless than
 K 
. Thus, at
higheccentricity ratios, the shaft stiffnessis the weak stiffness
, and it controlsthe combination stiffness.Fluid-induced instability
whirl 
beginswith the rotor operating relativelyclose to the center of the bearing.The whirl vibration is usually associated with a rigid body modeof the rotor system (Figure 2, top). During whirl, the rotorsystem precesses at a natural frequency that is controlled bythe softer bearing spring stiffness.
Whip
is an instability vibration that locks to a more or lessconstant frequency. The whip vibration is usually associatedwith a bending mode of the rotor system (Figure 2, bottom).In this situation, the journal operates at a high eccentricityratio, and
 K 
 B
is much higher than
 K 
.
 K 
is the weakest spring
K
S B B BSSS B
=+     =+     =+     
11 111
44ORBIT 4Q01
DIAGRAMSHOWINGCONICALWHIRLMODESHAPEATTOPANDBENDINGWHIPMODESHAPEATBOTTOM
FIGURE 2
SERIESSPRINGCOMBINATIONWITHMASS
FIGURE 1

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