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Model Based Analysis of Steam-Whip Instability Onsets Occurred in a Power Plant

[+] Author Affiliations
Paolo Pennacchi, Andrea Vania

Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Paper No. DETC2009-86474, pp. 1025-1032; 8 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1: 22nd Biennial Conference on Mechanical Vibration and Noise, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, August 30–September 2, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4898-2 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3856-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


The characteristics of the steam flow as well as the mechanical and geometrical properties of the seals play an important role in the generation of steam-whirl instability phenomena in rotating machines. The hardening of the seal stiffness caused by a raise of the steam flow and pressure often gives a significant contribution to the occurrence of unstable vibrations. With regard to model-based investigations the increase of the cross-coupled coefficients used to model the seal stiffness can cause important changes in the eigenvalues and eigenmodes of the mathematical model of a rotating machine. In particular, the real part of the eigenvalue associated with the first flexural normal mode of the turbine shaft may become positive causing the conditions for the occurrence of unstable vibrations. The threshold level of the steam flow that causes instability conditions can be used to define the stability margin of the power unit. This paper shows the results of investigations carried out with model-based techniques by means of which the dynamic behavior of a large power unit affected by steam-whirl instability phenomena have been successfully studied.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME
Topics: Power stations , Steam



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