Auto-eliminating clearance auxiliary bearing devices (ACABD) can automatically eliminate the protective clearance between the ball bearing's outer race and the ACABD's supports, thus recenter the rotor when active magnetic bearing (AMB) system fails. This paper introduces the mechanical structure and working principles of the ACABD. When the rotor drops, numerical and experimental studies on the transient responses of the rotor and the ACABD's supports are also conducted as follows. First, we propose an equivalent clearance circle method to establish dynamic models of rotor dropping on the ACABD. Based on these models, the rotor dropping simulations are carried out to investigate the modes of lubrication and the ACABD's support shape's influences on the performance and execution time of clearance elimination. Second, various AMB rotor dropping tests are performed on our experimental setup with different ACABD supporting conditions. Indicated from the basically consistent simulation and experimental results, the correctness of the theoretical analysis and the successful operation of ACABD have been verified. Moreover, with the grease lubrication in the ball bearing and convex shape supports, the ACABD can eliminate the protective clearance within approximately 0.5 s upon the rotor drops and then sustain the rotor to operate stably around its original rotation center. Because of clearance elimination, the dramatic impact between the ball bearing and the supports is avoided and the impact forces among each part are effectively reduced. Meanwhile, the possibility of incurring full-clearance backward whirling motion is eliminated.

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