Squeeze film dampers (SFD) provide load isolation and attenuate rotor vibrations in high speed turbomachinery. Operating parameters such as whirl frequency, amplitude of journal motion and value of external pressure supply determine the SFD dynamic force response and its dissipation of mechanical energy. Measurements of pressure fields and fluid film forces in a fully submerged open end - squeeze film damper are presented for tests with rotor speeds to 5,000 cpm and low supply pressures. The damper has a clearance of 381 µm (0.015 in) and the journal describes circular centered orbits of amplitudes ranging from 30% to 50% of the bearing clearance. Experimental film pressures depict a vapor cavitation (close to zero absolute pressure) zone increasing in extent as the whirl frequency increases. Estimated fluid film forces from the measured pressure profiles are found to be proportional to whirl speed and lubricant viscosity. Test cross coupled damping coefficients (Cπ) are smaller than predicted values based on the short length bearing model with a π film cavitation assumption. The direct damping coefficients (Cπ) are larger than theoretical values, especially at low frequencies where the dynamic cavitation region has not grown to half the circumferential flow extent. The experiments demonstrate the viscous character of the fluid film forces in a SFD test apparatus where fluid inertia effects are minimal (squeeze film Reynolds number less than one). On the other hand, the extent of the cavitation zone appears to be dominant on the generation of fluid film forces.

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