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Internal clearance in rolling element bearings is usually present to allow for radial and axial growth of the rotor-bearing system and to accommodate bearing fit-up. The presence of this clearance also introduces a “dead band” into the load-deflection behavior of the bearing. Previous studies demonstrated that the presence of dead band clearance might have a significant effect on synchronous rotor response. In this work, the authors investigate transient response of a rotor supported on rolling element bearings with internal clearance. In addition, the stiffness of the bearings varies nonlinearly with bearing deflection and with speed. Bearing properties were accurately calculated with a state of the art rolling bearing analysis code. The subsequent rotordynamics analysis shows that for rapid acceleration rates the maximum response amplitude may be less than predicted by steady-state analysis. The presence of clearance may shift the critical speed location to lower speed values. The rotor vibration response exhibits subharmonic components which are more prominent with bearing clearance.


Prepared for and presented at the Seventh International Conference on Rotor Dynamics sponsored by the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science (IFToMM) Vienna, Austria, September 25–28, 2006


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