Influence of unbalance levels on nonlinear dynamics of a rotor-backup rolling bearing system

Cesar A. Fonseca, Ilmar Santos, Hans I. Weber

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Rotor drops in magnetic bearing and unbalance in rotors have been objective of study for many years. The combination of these two well-known phenomena led to an interesting chaotic response, when the rotor touches the inner race of the back-up bearing. The present work explores the nonlinear rotor backup bearing dynamics both theoretically and experimentally using a fully instrumented test rig, where the position of shaft, its angular velocity and the contact forces between the shaft and the backup bearing are sampled at 25 kHz. The test rig is built by a removable passive magnetic bearing, which allows for simulation of magnetic bearing failure (loss of carrying capacity and rotor fall). The rotor is studied numerically as well as experimentally. A theoretical approach is given beforehand and supplies the basis of the study. Finally the presented results are commented on the point of view of nonlinear dynamics applied to the practical use. The theoretical and numerical analyses are shown through orbit plots, phase plans, Poincaré maps, force response in time and double sided spectrum. The latter is important to characterize the condition at different levels of unbalance between forward and backward whirl. Our preliminary results indicate that for smaller amount of unbalance the rotor swings at the bottom of the bearing, the more the unbalance increases, other dynamical behavior occur and some can be extremely harmful, since the rotor can be lifted from the contact state and return, starting to impact innumerable times without reaching a steady state.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Pages (from-to)482-496
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Safety bearings
  • Impact
  • Friction
  • Contact mechanics
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Magnetic bearing


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