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A Simple Contact Model for Simulating Tie Bolt Rotor Butt Joints With and Without Pilot Fits

[+] Author Affiliations
Aaron M. Rimpel

Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX

Paper No. GT2018-75101, pp. V07AT33A003; 8 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition
  • Volume 7A: Structures and Dynamics
  • Oslo, Norway, June 11–15, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5113-5
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


Turbomachinery rotors constructed from shaft components held together with a central tie bolt can be referred to as “tie bolt rotors”. At the interface between adjacent shaft sections, a contact stiffness behavior acts to reduce the effective bending stiffness compared to a solid shaft. Therefore, bending natural frequencies tend to be over-predicted, which is a design risk if critical speed margins are compromised. The current research analyzed the effect of contact stiffness in tie bolt rotor butt joints with and without pilot fits. Test articles were fabricated to represent different joint contact areas and pilot feature dimensions, and bending stiffness was indirectly observed by measurement of shaft natural frequencies. An empirical model was derived from a subset of the data, and the model was used to predict performance in all other test cases. The model proposed adding a small thickness layer of material with a reduced modulus of elasticity to simulate the reduction in stiffness by the axial face contact, which is a practical approach for simulation by finite element analysis (FEA) not previously proposed in the literature. The presence of the contact stiffness behavior was evident in all of the test data, which showed a stiffening effect with an increase in contact pressure. By contrast, the baseline FEA simulation predicted a softening behavior with increased compressive load. Implementing the empirically-derived contact stiffness model in simulations showed improved predictions for all experimental shaft configurations tested in this study.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Rotors , Tie rods



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