A 46 MW 5,500 rpm multistage single casing utility steam turbine experienced strong subsynchronous rotordynamic vibration of the first rotor mode; preventing full load operation of the unit. The root cause of the vibration stemmed from steam whirl forces generated at secondary sealing locations in combination with flexible rotor-bearing system. Several attempts were made to eliminate the subsynchronous vibration by modifying bearing geometry and clearances, which came short of enabling full load operation.

The following paper presents experimental tests and analytical results focused on stabilizing a 46 MW 6,230kg utility steam turbine experiencing subsynchronous rotordynamic instability. The paper advances an integral squeeze film damper (ISFD) solution, which was implemented to resolve the subsynchronous vibration and allow full load and full speed operation of the machine. The present work addresses the bearing-damper analysis, rotordynamic analysis, and experimental validation through waterfall plots, and synchronous vibration data of the steam turbine rotor. Analytical and experimental results show that using ISFD improved the stability margin by a factor of 12 eliminating the subsynchronous instability and significantly reducing critical speed amplification factors. Additionally, by using ISFD the analysis showed significant reduction in interstage clearance closures during critical speed transitions in comparison to the hard mounted tilting pad bearing configuration.

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