Rotordynamic instability, commonly observed as subsynchronous vibration, is a serious problem that can cause heavy damage to a turbomachine or make it incapable of operation due to high vibration levels. However, all subsynchronous vibrations are not necessarily unstable. A way to quickly diagnose them would be helpful. In an earlier paper, the authors presented data from experiments that simulated various causes of sub-synchronous vibrations, some causes being genuine rotordynamic instabilities and some others being benign (stable), and identified ways to diagnose and classify the subsynchronous motions. In a continuation of the same study, subsynchronous vibrations due to coupled lateral-torsional effects are experimentally simulated, the objective being to signal-analyze these vibrations to find unique signatures that identify this cause and also be able to recognize if they are a true rotordynamic instability or not. To this end, a test rig was built with parallel shafts coupled by gears, driven by a DC motor at one end and loaded at the other end, to closely simulate a real-world machine. A torsional mathematical model for the test rig is also presented to predict its torsional natural frequencies. Experiments were conducted wherein the first torsional natural frequency was externally excited, with the shaft spinning at a higher speed. The result was a false sub-synchronous “instability” signal in the lateral measurements. A method to distinguish these vibrations from a genuine lateral non-synchronous instability is presented. Also, a new diagnostic method to classify the subsynchronous vibration as benign is elucidated.

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