Test response and nonlinear analysis of a turbocharger supported on floating ring bearings Academic Article uri icon


  • Measurements of casing acceleration on an automotive turbocharger running to a top speed of 115 krpm and driven by ambient temperature pressurized air are reported. Waterfall acceleration spectra versus rotor speed show the effects of increasing lubricant inlet pressure and temperature on turbocharger rotordynamic response. A comprehensive analysis of the test data shows regimes of speed operation with two subsynchronous whirl motions (rotordynamic instabilities). Increasing the lubricant feed pressure delays the onset speed of instability for the most severe subsynchronous motion. However, increasing the lubricant feed pressure also produces larger synchronous displacements. The effect of lubricant feed temperature is minimal on the onset and end speeds of rotordynamic instability. Nevertheless, operation with a cold lubricant exhibits lower amplitudes of motion, synchronous and subsynchronous. The experimental results show the subsynchronous frequencies of motion do not lock (whip) at system natural frequencies but continuously track the rotor speed. No instabilities (subsynchronous whirl) remain for operating speeds above 90 krpm. Linear and nonlinear analysis results for the operation of a small automotive turbocharger supported on floating ring bearings are presented. A comprehensive fluid film bearing model predicting the forced response of floating ring bearings is also described. The linear rotordynamic model predicts well the rotor freefree modes and onset speed of instability using linearized bearing force coefficients. The nonlinear model incorporating instantaneous bearing reaction forces in the numerical integration of the rotor equations of motion predicts the limit cycle amplitudes with two fundamental subsynchronous whirl frequencies. Comparisons of both models to experimental results follow. The predictions evidence two unstable whirl ratios at approximately 12 ring speed and 12 ring speed plus 12 journal speed. The transient nonlinear responses reveal the importance of rotor imbalance in suppressing the subsynchronous instabilities at large rotor speeds as also observed in the experiments.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Holt, C., San Andres, L., Sahay, S., Tang, P., La Rue, G., & Gjika, K.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Holt, C||San Andres, L||Sahay, S||Tang, P||La Rue, G||Gjika, K

publication date

  • April 2005