Synchronous Thermal Instability Evaluation of Medium Speed Turbocharger Rotor-Bearing Systems
Carroll, Brian R.
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Rotors in fluid-film bearing supported turbomachinery are known to develop elliptical orbits as a result of rotor-bearing interactions, mass unbalance within the rotor, gravitational bending of the shaft and external excitation. In synchronous whirl, where the speed at which the shaft travels about the orbit is equal to the rotational speed of the rotor, temperature gradients may develop across the journal as a result of viscous shear in the bearingâ s lubricant film. This thermal gradient leads to bending of the shaft in a phenomenon known as The Morton Effect. Such thermally induced bending causes further growth of the elliptical orbit resulting in further bending leading to excessive vibration levels and premature bearing failure. This analysis examines the development of the Morton Effect in medium-speed turbochargers typical to shipboard propulsion engines and the effect that bearing clearance has on thermal stability. Floating ring and tilting pad journal bearings are considered with a single stage, overhung centrifugal compressor and an overhung axial turbine. Results indicate a correlation between bearing clearance and thermal stability in the rotor-bearing system. A model for the aerodynamic force generated as a result of interaction between air exiting a centrifugal compressor and the compressorâ s annulus in a turbocharger is then developed and applied to the rotor-bearing systems. Results suggest little correlation between this aerodynamic force and the development of the Morton Effect.
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