This study examines the influence of bearing clearance on the dynamic behavior of a rotating, flexible disk/shaft system. Most previous work in nonlinear rotordynamics has tended to concentrate separately on shaft vibration or on bladed disk vibration, neglecting the coupling dynamics between them. The current work examines the important rotordynamic behavior of coupled disk/shaft dynamics. A simplified nonlinear model is developed for lateral vibration of a rotor system with a bearing clearance nonlinearity. The steady-state dynamic behavior of this system is explored using numerical simulation and limit cycle analysis. It is demonstrated that bearing clearance effects can produce superharmonic vibration that may serve to excite high-amplitude disk vibration. Such vibration could lead to significantly increased bearing loads and catastrophic failure of blades and disks. In addition, multivalued responses and aperiodic behavior were observed.

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