The unbalance response and stability of centrally preloaded symmetric rigid rotors are investigated. Steady state solutions for unbalance transmissibilities, orbit eccentricity radii, and stability are presented for rotors running in hydrodynamic journal bearings and in rolling element bearings which are supported in squeeze film bearings. The Ocvirk and Warner approximations are used to evaluate the fluid film forces, rendering the data applicable to any length/diameter ratio. Both pressurized (2π film) and unpressurized (π film) oil supply are considered. Pressurization has a far reaching influence on the steady state behavior of both journal and squeeze film bearings. For unpressurized bearings, conditions of multistable operation and for stability are depicted, with journal bearings exhibiting ‘half frequency whirl’ possibilities as well. The error involved in predicting vertical bearing behavior by assuming an equivalent unidirectional load equal to the unbalance load is demonstrated. For pressurized bearings multistable operation is eliminated but both squeeze film and journal bearings are unstable for most length/diameter ratios in the absence of external radial stiffness. The stabilizing effect of superimposed external radial stiffness on pressurized bearings is clearly demonstrated. While pressurized journal bearings can run stably, they are less suited than pressurized squeeze film bearings for vibration isolation.

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