A mathematical model is developed for the nonlinear vibrations of automatic reed valves in high-speed refrigeration compressors. Specifically considered are a general class of values which wrap about curved backer plates. Two simple experiments are described which allow the nonlinearities of the valve system to be defined by a single nonlinear second order differential equation. Valve oscillation frequencies inside an operating compressor are predicted through a linearization of the valve equation. Comparisons with experiment are included.

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