Internal Friction Instability in the SSME Turbopump

Walton, J.F., et.al.,”Internal Friction Instability in the SSME Turbopump,” Proceedings 1990 Advanced Earth-to-Orbit Propulsion Technology Conference, NASA-CP-3092, Vol.II, pp 220-232, May 15-17, 1990.

dynamic performance are documented. Analytical component models for axial splines, Curvic splines, and interference fit joints commonly found in modern high speed turbomachinery were developed. Rotor systems operating above a bending critical speed were shown to exhibit unstable subsynchronous vibrations at the first natural frequency. The effect of speed, bearing stiffness, joint stiffness, external damping, torque, and coefficient of friction, was evaluated. Testing included material coefficient of friction evaluations, component joint quantity and form of damping determinations, and rotordynamic stability assessments. Under conditions similar to those in the SSME turbopumps, material interfaces experienced a coefficient of friction of approx. 0.2 for lubricated and 0.8 for unlubricated conditions. The damping observed in the component joints displayed nearly linear behavior with increasing amplitude. Thus, the measured damping, as a function of amplitude, is not represented by either linear or Coulomb friction damper models. Rotordynamic testing of an axial spline joint under 5000 in.-lb of static torque, demonstrated the presence of an extremely severe instability when the rotor was operated above its first flexible natural frequency. The presence of this instability was predicted by nonlinear rotordynamic time-transient analysis using the nonlinear component model developed under this program. Corresponding rotordynamic testing of a shaft with an interference fit joint demonstrated the presence of subsynchronous vibrations at the first natural frequency. While subsynchronous vibrations were observed, they were bounded and significantly lower in amplitude than the synchronous vibrations.


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