Rotating machinery in transportation systems experiences intermittent excitation from road conditions. Internal combustion (IC) engines exert (multiple) periodic load excitations into passenger vehicle turbochargers, for example. Too large base motions can produce severe rotor-bearing system damage, even failure. The paper shows the reliability of a rotor-hybrid gas bearing system to withstand intermittent base foundation motions induced by a shaker. The test rig consists of a rigid rotor, 190mm in length, 0.825 kg in mass, and 28.6 mm in diameter, supported on two hybrid, flexure pivot tilting pad type, gas bearings. The whole system, weighing 48 kg, is supported on two soft coil springs and its lowest natural frequency is just ∼5 Hz. The rod connecting the shaker to the base plate is not affixed rigidly to the test rig base. The rod merely pushes on the base plate and hence the induced based motions are intermittent with multiple impacts and frequencies. The base induced motions are at a low main frequency (5–12 Hz) relative to the operating speed of the rotor-bearing system (max. 35 krpm). The recorded rotor responses, relative to the bearing housings, also contain the main excitation frequency and its super harmonics; and because of the intermittency of the base motions, it also excites the rotor-bearing system natural frequency, in particular when the gas bearings are supplied with a low feed pressure. Predicted rotor dynamic displacements induced by the base excitations show reasonable agreement with the test data.

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