The safe and reliable operation of high-speed rotating machinery often requires the use of devices that dissipate undesirable rotor vibrations. As an alternative to the more conventional squeeze-film bearing damper designs, a Viton-70 shear-mounted, elastomeric damper was built and tested in a T-55 power turbine high-speed balancing rig. This application demonstrated, for the first time, the feasibility of using elastomers as the primary rotor damping source in production turbine engine hardware. The shear-mounted damper design was selected because of its compatibility with actual gas turbine engine radial space constraints, its accommodation of both the radial and axial thrust loads present in gas turbine engines, and its capability of controlled axial preload. The shear-mounted damper was interchangeable with the production T-55 power turbine roller bearing support so that a direct comparison between the shear damper and the production support structure could be made. Test results showed that the Viton-70 elastomeric damper operated successfully and provided excellent control of both synchronous and nonsynchronous vibrations through all phases of testing to the maximum rotor speed of 1676 rad/s (16,000 rpm). Excellent correlation between the predicted and experienced critical speeds, mode shapes, and log decrements for the power turbine rotor and elastomer damper assembly was also achieved.

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