Experience in Full Load Testing Natural Gas Centrifugal Compressors for Rotordynamics Improvements PUBLIC ACCESS

[+] Author Affiliations
Alain Gelin, Jean-Marc Pugnet, Daniel Bolusset, Patrick Friez

Framatome Division Thermodyn, Le Creusot, France

Paper No. 96-GT-378, pp. V005T14A041; 11 pages
  • ASME 1996 International Gas Turbine and Aeroengine Congress and Exhibition
  • Volume 5: Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy; Ceramics; Structures and Dynamics; Controls, Diagnostics and Instrumentation; Education; General
  • Birmingham, UK, June 10–13, 1996
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-7876-7
  • Copyright © 1996 by ASME


During full load shop tests under natural gas, two multistage centrifugal compressors exhibited subsynchronous vibrations. Both of them are low flow, high pressure, high rotational speed compressors, and are fitted with tilting pad bearings, and dry gas seals. A rotating stall problem was firstly eliminated by a modification of the diffuser geometry. Then, aerodynamic excitations caused the rotors to operate at their stability limit, and high vibration levels were observed at the first natural frequency. A complete rotordynamics analysis was performed in order to model precisely all the fluid-structure interactions. Modifications of the rotor designs were implemented, consisting in optimizing conveniently the bearing pads, replacing the toothed labyrinth seals of the balance pistons by damping honeycomb seals, fitting them with improved shunt hole systems. In addition, the dry gas seals were found to have been damaged, due to thermal effects, and further modifications were implemented to eliminate this problem. Final full load tests demonstrated a satisfactory behaviour of both centrifugal compressors.

Copyright © 1996 by ASME
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