Experimental evaluation of wire mesh for design as a bearing damper



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Texas A&M University


Wire mesh vibration dampers have been the subject of some very encouraging experiments at the Texas A&M Turbomachinery laboratories for the past several years and have emerged as an excellent replacement for squeeze film dampers. Their capability to provide damping for a wide range of temperatures (even cryogenic), fluid free operation and ability to perform even when soaked with lubricants makes them a suitable option as a bearing damper. Experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of design parameters like axial thickness and axial compression that influence the characteristics of wire mesh as a bearing damper. Two groups of wire mesh were tested to show that the stiffness and damping are directly proportional to the axial thickness, if all the other parameters are kept constant. Tests on four wire mesh donuts of different radial thickness showed that stiffness and damping vary inversely with radial thickness. Rigorous tests were also conducted to quantify the effects of axial compression, radial interference and displacement amplitude on stiffness and damping of the wire mesh. Another novel kind of mesh damper tested was comprised of two small segments instead of a whole donut. The results showed that wire mesh exhibited good damping characteristics even when used in small segments. Empirical expressions were developed using MathCADTM worksheets, and an existing ExcelTM design worksheet was modified to include these factors. The effect of frequency variation was also included to give a comprehensive design tool for wire mesh. A new design worksheet was developed that can predict rotordynamic coefficients for a wire mesh bearing damper having a different size as well as different installation and operational conditions.