Vibration due to a bearing failure in a pump created significant vibrations in a fifteen foot by fifteen foot by eight feet tall mounting platform due to excitation of resonant frequencies. In this particular application, an 18,000 pound pump was mounted to a structural steel platform. When bearing damage commenced, the platform vibrated with sufficient magnitude that conversations could not be heard within forty feet of the pump. Vibration analysis determined that the frequency of the bearing was coincident to one of the natural frequencies of the pump, which was, in turn, coincident to one of the natural frequencies of the mounting platform. This coincidence of frequencies defines resonance. Resonance creates excessive vibrations when the natural frequency of a structure is coincident to an excitation frequency. In this well documented case, the excitation frequency was related to ball bearing failures. The pump is a forty foot long vertical pump used to mix nuclear waste in 1,300,000 gallon tanks. A 300 horsepower drive motor is mounted to a structural steel platform on top of the tank. The pump hangs down into the tank from above to mix the waste and is inaccessible after installation. Initial awareness of the problem was due to increased noise from the pump. Initial vibration analysis indicated that the vibration levels of the bearing were within the expected range for this type of bearing, and the resonant condition was not obvious. Further analysis consisted of disassembly of the motor to inspect the bearings and extensive vibration monitoring. Vibration data for the bearings was obtained from the manufacturer and compared to measured vibration plots for the pump and mounting platform. Vibration data measured along the length of the pump was available from full scale testing, and vibrations were also measured at the installed pump. One of the axial frequencies of the pump, the platform frequency in the vertical direction, and the ball spin frequency for the bearing were multiples of each other. This resonant condition was detected before other damage occurred, and further damage due to the resonant condition was prevented through vibration analysis.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.