Traditional rotor dynamics analysis programs make the assumption that disk components are rigid and can be treated as lumped masses. Several researchers have studied this assumption with specific analytical treatments designed to simulate disk flexibility. The general conclusions reached by these studies indicated disk flexibility has little effect on critical speeds but significantly influences natural frequencies. This apparent contradiction has been reexamined by using axisymmetric harmonic finite elements to directly represent both disk and shaft flexibility along with gyroscopic effects. Results from this improved analysis show that depending on the thickness-to-diameter (slenderness) ratio of the disk and the axial position of the disk on the shaft, there are significant differences in all natural frequencies, for both forward and backward modes, including synchronous crossings at critical speeds.

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