It is often desirable to identify the critical components that are active in a particular mode shape or an operational deflected shape (ODS) in a complex rotordynamic system with multiple rotating groups and bearings. The energy distributions can help identify the critical components of a rotor bearing system that may be modified to match the design requirements. Although the energy expressions have been studied by researchers in the past under specific limited conditions, these expressions require computing the displacements and velocities of all degrees of freedom over one full cycle. They do not address the overall time-dependency of the energies and energy distributions, and their effect on the interpretation of a mode shape or an ODS. Moreover, a detailed finite element formulation of these energy expressions including the effects of anisotropy, skew-symmetric stiffness, viscous and structural damping have not been identified by the authors in the open literature. In this article, a detailed account of orbit characteristics and planarity for isotropic and anisotropic systems is presented. The effect of orbit characteristics on the energy expressions is then discussed. An elegant approach to obtaining time-dependent kinetic and strain energies of a mode shape or an ODS directly from the structural matrices and complex eigenvectors/displacement vectors is presented. The expressions for energy contributed per cycle by various types of damping and the destabilizing skew-symmetric stiffness that can be obtained in a similar way are also shown. The conditions under which the energies and energy distributions are time-invariant are discussed. An alternative set of energy expressions for isotropic systems with the degrees of freedom reduced by half is also presented.

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