The following work advances a new concept for a hermetically sealed squeeze film damper (HSFD), which does not require an open-flow lubrication system. The hermetically sealed concept utilizes a submersed plunger within a contained fluidic cavity filled with incompressible fluid and carefully controlled end plate clearances to generate high levels of viscous damping. Although the application space for a hermetic damper can be envisioned to be quite broad, the context here will target the use of this device as a rotordynamic bearing support damper in flexibly mounted gas bearing systems. The effort focused on identifying the stiffness and damping behavior of the damper while varying test parameters such as excitation frequency, vibration amplitude, and end plate clearance. To gain further insight to the damper behavior, key dynamic pressure measurements in the damper land were used for identifying the onset conditions for squeeze film cavitation. The HSFD performance is compared to existing gas bearing support dampers and a conventional open-flow squeeze film dampers (SFD) used in turbomachinery. The damper concept yields high viscous damping coefficients an order of magnitude larger than existing oil-free gas bearing supports dampers and shows comparable damping levels to current state of the art open-flow SFD. The force coefficients were shown to contribute frequency-dependent stiffness and damping coefficients while exhibiting amplitude independent behavior within operating regimes without cavitation. Finally, using experimentally based force density calculations, the data revealed threshold cavitation velocities, approximated for the three end seal clearance cases. To complement the experimental work, a Reynolds-based fluid flow model was developed and is compared to the HSFD damping and stiffness results.

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