Spline is a kind of typical joint structures widely used in the aero-engine rotor system. The stiffness distribution of the spool is affected by the spline joint’s stiffness directly. Therefore, it is significant to investigate the spline joint’s stiffness characteristics and its influences on the dynamic characteristics of the rotor system. To figure out the factors that affect the bending stiffness of the spline joint, a mechanical model which takes contact state into account was built based on the structure analysis and force state analysis. In addition, an actual rotor with a spline joint was established to measure the stiffness under different loads, and the results were compared with the analysis by three modeling methods. Furthermore, the natural frequencies of the rotor were tested.
Obtained results indicate that the structural discontinuity, the surface stiffness and the clearance fit cause the loss of local angular stiffness and linear stiffness. Meanwhile, the stiffness of the rotor with the spline joint is weaker along with the increase of the load/deformation, and become stable when undergoing the huge load/deformation. Besides, the local blending stiffness is presented as nonlinear and uncertainty subjected to an interval, which further affected the dynamic characteristics of rotor system.