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Published January 1, 2006 | public
Journal Article Open

Fluid-induced Rotordynamic Forces and Instabilities


In the late 1970s, the authors began a collaboration with our colleague Tom Caughey that helped define a new set of fluid-structure interaction phenomena in turbomachines, namely fluid-induced rotordynamic forces and instabilities. That collaboration and the 31 joint ABC papers it produced epitomized Tom Caughey's genius and we reprise it here in his honor. The design of the space shuttle main engine (SSME) pushed beyond the boundaries of many known technologies. In particular, the rotating speeds and operating conditions of the high speed liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen turbopumps were extreme and early testing revealed a whirl instability whose magnitude exceeded expectations and allowable limits. It was suspected and later proven that fluid-induced rotordynamic effects were a contributing factor and yet very little was known of such phenomena. As one of the efforts seeking understanding, we constructed a facility to measure fluid-induced rotordynamic forces. This was subsequently used in a broad range of investigations. Initially, the effort was directed to understanding the source and parametric variations of destabilizing fluid forces. Later various components of the flow in a high speed turbopump were investigated. And finally, some ameliorative measures and their effectiveness were examined. This paper reviews this body of knowledge and the lessons learnt along the way.

Additional Information

Author preprint. Received: 30 May 2005; Revised: 6 September 2005 The authors know that Tom Caughey would particularly wish to acknowledge the hard work, dedication and inspiration of a generation of students at Caltech who contributed to this work including D.S. Chamieh, B. Jery, D.R. Adkins, R. Franz, N. Arndt, A. Guinzburg, J.M. Sivo, R.V. Uy, Y. Hsu, F. Zhuang, A. Bhattacharyya, M.P. Karyeaclis, W. Goda, R.S. Miskovish, F. Rahman, B.L. Bircumshaw, and many others. We would also like to thank NASA George Marshall Space Flight Center for their encouragement and support over many years and for the support of grant number NAG8-1934 during preparation of this review. We are also grateful to the Advanced Rotating Machinery group of Rocketdyne for their support. Contract/grant sponsor: NASA George Marshall Space Flight Center; contract/grant number: NAG8-1934; Contract/grant sponsor: Advanced Rotating Machinery group of Rocketdyne.


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