Friction Damper Optimisation: Simulation of Rainbow Tests PUBLIC ACCESS

[+] Author Affiliations
Kenan Y. Sanliturk, David J. Ewins

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK

Robert Elliott, Jeff S. Green

Rolls-Royce Plc, Derby, UK

Paper No. 99-GT-336, pp. V004T03A038; 9 pages
  • ASME 1999 International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition
  • Volume 4: Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy; Ceramics; Structures and Dynamics; Controls, Diagnostics and Instrumentation; Education; IGTI Scholar Award; General
  • Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, June 7–10, 1999
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-7861-3
  • Copyright © 1999 by ASME


Friction dampers have been used to reduce turbine blade vibration levels for a considerable period of time. However, optimal design of these dampers has been quite difficult due both to a lack of adequate theoretical predictions and to difficulties in conducting reliable experiments. One of the difficulties of damper weight optimisation via the experimental route has been the inevitable effects of mistuning. Also, conducting separate experiments for different damper weights involves excessive cost. Therefore, current practice in the turbomachinery industry has been to conduct so-called ‘rainbow tests’ where friction dampers with different weights are placed between blades with a predefined configuration. However, it has been observed that some rainbow test results have been difficult to interpret and have been inconclusive for determining the optimum damper weight for a given bladed-disc assembly.

A new method of analysis — a combination of Harmonic Balance Method and structural modification approaches — is presented in this paper for the analysis of structures with friction interfaces and the method is applied to search for qualitative answers about the so-called ‘rainbow tests’ in turbomachinery applications. A simple lumped-parameter model of a bladed-disc model was used and different damper weights were modelled using friction elements with different characteristics. Resonance response levels were obtained for bladed discs with various numbers of blades under various engine-order excitations. It was found that rainbow tests, where friction dampers with different weights are used on the same bladed-disc assembly, can be used to find the optimum damper weight if the mode of vibration concerned has weak blade-to-blade coupling (the case where the disc is almost rigid and blades vibrate almost independently from each other). Otherwise, it is very difficult to draw any reliable conclusion from such expensive experiments.

Copyright © 1999 by ASME
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