The transfer matrix method is an expedient numerical technique for determining the dynamic behavior of a rotordynamic system (e.g., whirl frequencies, steady-state response to forcing). The typical 8 × 8 transfer matrix suffers from several deficiencies. First, for a system incorporating damping, the method generates a characteristic polynomial of degree 8N for a model of N lumped masses (degree 4N for an undamped model). The high degree of the polynomial results in lengthy computation times and decreased accuracy. Second, as discussed herein, the 8 × 8 formulation fails to distinguish between forward and backward whirl. These deficiencies are overcome by a novel complex-valued state variable redefinition resulting in a 4×4 transfer matrix including external support stiffness and damping. The complex transfer matrix is then modified to account for analysis within a rotating reference frame. Analysis in a rotating reference frame is a judicious means to determine unique system fault characteristics, which serve as a starting point for the development of an on-line fault detection system. Insights into using the complex transfer matrix in a rotating reference frame are discussed. Analytical results in both inertial and rotating reference frames for an overhung rotor model are provided.

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