Squeeze film dampers (SFDs) are widely used to dissipate mechanical energy caused by rotor vibrations as well as to improve overall stability of the rotor system. Especially turbomachine rotors, supported on little damped rolling element bearings (REBs), are primarily sensitive to unbalance excitation and thus high amplitude vibrations. To ensure safe operation, potential failure modes, such as an oil starved damper state, need to be well examined prior to the introduction in the ultimate industrial application. Hence, the aim of this research project is to evaluate the performance of the rotor support for a complete oil starvation of the SFD. An academic rotor dynamic test bench has been developed and briefly presented. Experimental testing has been conducted for two static radial load cases resembling the full load and idle condition of a certain turbomachine. Evidently, the measurement results exposed severe vibration problems. Even a split first whirl mode arises due to a pronounced anisotropic bearing stiffness. Moreover, for the least radially loaded bearing, highly nonlinear behavior emerged at elevated unbalance excitation. Consequently, the rollers start to rattle which will have a negative effect on the overall bearing lifetime. To explain the nature of the nonlinear behavior, advanced quasi-static bearing simulations are exploited. A number of possible solutions are proposed in order to help mitigate the vibration issues.

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