A horizontal balanced rotor supported on ball bearings with radial internal clearance, subjected to rotational speed fluctuations is modeled. The dynamic model takes under consideration contact forces derived by the hertzian theory of elasticity between the balls and the races, the effect of varying compliance, the internal radial clearance and the rotor’s speed fluctuations. The effect of variation in speed fluctuations is examined for periodic, unstable periodic and chaotic responses with the use of frequency distributions, higher order Poincare maps, and Lyapunov exponents. All results presented show a dominant stabilization effect of the speed fluctuations to the system behavior. From the analysis performed, it is concluded that even a minimum fluctuation of the rotor speed may result to major changes of the system dynamics, indicating that speed fluctuations of the rotor are a governing parameter to the dynamic behavior of the system.

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