Rocket pumps are characterized by high speed and high delivery pressure. Therefore, balancing of axial thrust acting on the rotor assembly is one of the most important factors. To realize complete axial thrust balancing, a balance piston-type axial-thrust self-balancing system is often used in rocket pumps. This axial thrust balance system acts dynamically as if it were a mass and spring system, although there is no mechanical spring. Sometimes, large amplitude axial vibration is observed in a liquid hydrogen turbopump. Too much vibration in the axial direction causes metal-to-metal rubbing, resulting in fatal accidents of rocket turbopumps. However, the cause of the vibration has not yet been clarified. In the present study, the self-balancing system was modeled by combining the mechanical structure and the fluid system in a calculation program of one-dimensional multidomain system analysis software. Stability of the system was investigated using this program and the possibility of existence of self-excited vibration was confirmed. Effects of geometry, fluids, viscous damping, radial pressure drop in the chamber, and orifice flow coefficients on the stability of the balance piston system were examined. As a result, it was concluded that large compressibility of liquid hydrogen was the cause of the large amplitude axial vibrations. With the results of analyses, methods to stabilize the system in order to suppress the axial vibration were suggested.
Stability of an Axial Thrust Self-Balancing System
Manuscript received August 10, 2012; final manuscript received December 5, 2012; published online January 18, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Frank C. Visser.
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Shimura, T., Kawasaki, S., Uchiumi, M., Kimura, T., Hayashi, M., and Matsui, J. (January 18, 2013). "Stability of an Axial Thrust Self-Balancing System." ASME. J. Fluids Eng. January 2013; 135(1): 011105. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4023197
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