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Feasibility of Applying Active Lubrication to Reduce Vibration in Industrial Compressors

[+] Author Affiliations
Ilmar F. Santos

Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark

Rodrigo Nicoletti

State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil

Alexandre Scalabrin

Embraer Aeronautical Company S.A., São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Paper No. GT2003-38225, pp. 481-489; 9 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2003, collocated with the 2003 International Joint Power Generation Conference
  • Volume 4: Turbo Expo 2003
  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA, June 16–19, 2003
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3687-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3671-1
  • Copyright © 2003 by ASME


In this paper the complete set of modified Reynolds’ equations for the active lubrication is presented. The solution of such a set of equations allows the determination of stiffness and damping coefficients of actively lubricated bearings. These coefficients are not just dependent on Sommerfeld number, as it would be the case of conventional hydrodynamic bearings, but they are also dependent on the excitation frequencies and gains of the control loop. Stiffness as well as damping coefficients can be strongly influenced by the choice of the control strategy, servo valve dynamics and geometry of the orifices distributed over the sliding surface. The dynamic coefficients of tilting-pad bearings with and without active lubrication and their influence on an industrial compressor of 391 Kg, which operates with a maximum speed of 10,200 rpm, are analyzed. In the original compressor design, the bearing housings are mounted on squeeze-film dampers in order to ensure reasonable stability margins during full load condition (high maximum continuous speed). Instead of having a combination of tilting-pad bearings and squeeze-film dampers, another design solution is proposed and theoretically investigated in the present paper, i.e. using actively lubricated bearings. By choosing a suitable set of control gains, it is possible not only to increase the stability of the rotor-bearing system, but also enlarge its operational frequency range.

Copyright © 2003 by ASME



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