A time-transient nonlinear dynamic analysis is presented to study the motion of statically unloaded journal-bearing tilting pads. The major finding is that unloaded pads can exhibit a strong sub-synchronous self-excited vibration. The frequency of this periodic motion is somewhat below half the rotational speed and bears a close relationship to self-excited oil-whip vibration of rotors on lightly loaded non-tilting pad journal bearings. The identification of this type of self-excited pad vibration has practical significance to the solution of problems in applications involving damage to unloaded pads. A comprehensive parametric study is presented and shows which tilting-pad journal bearing parameters are significant to self-excited pad vibration and its elimination.

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