Experimental Measurements of Hydrodynamic Radial Forces and Stiffness Matrices for a Centrifugal Pump-Impeller

[+] Author and Article Information
Dimitri S. Chamieh, Allan J. Acosta, Christopher E. Brennen, Thomas K. Caughey

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125

J. Fluids Eng 107(3), 307-315 (Sep 01, 1985) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3242482 History: Received April 02, 1984; Online October 26, 2009


The present work is an experimental investigation of the possible forces of fluid dynamic origin that can act on a turbomachine rotor particularly when it is situated off its normal center position. An experimental facility, the Rotor Force Test Facility, has been designed and constructed in order to measure these kinds of forces acting on a centrifugal pump impeller when the latter is made to whirl in a slightly eccentric circular orbit. The scope of the present experimental work consists of measuring quasi-steady forces on the impeller as it whirls slowly about the axis of the pump rotation. These forces are due to interaction between the impeller and volute; they are decomposed into force components relative to the geometric center of the volute and to those proportional to displacement from this center. These latter are interpreted as stiffness matrices. Such matrices were obtained for two different volutes and both were found to be the sum of a diagonal and a skew-symmetric matrix. It can be shown that a stiffness matrix of this type can lead to dynamic instability of impeller shaft system in certain circumstances. This new experimental finding may explain some operational problems of “high-speed” hydraulic machinery. Comparison is made with various existing theoretical and experimental results.

Copyright © 1985 by ASME
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