The objectives of this investigation were to develop a coupled dynamic model for turbocharger ball bearing rotor systems, correlate the simulated shaft motion with experimental results, and analyze the corresponding bearing dynamics. A high-speed turbocharger test rig was designed and developed in order to measure the dynamic response of a rotor under various operating conditions. Displacement sensors were used to record shaft motion over a range of operating speeds. To achieve the objectives of the analytical investigation, a discrete element angular contact ball bearing cartridge model was coupled with an explicit finite element shaft to simulate the dynamics of the turbocharger test rig. The bearing cartridge consists of a common outer ring, a pair of split inner races, and a row of balls on each end of the cartridge. The dynamic cartridge model utilizes the discrete element method in which each of the bearing components (i.e., races, balls, and cages) has six degrees-of-freedom. The rotor is modeled using the explicit finite element method. The cartridge and rotor models are coupled such that the motion of the flexible rotor is transmitted to the inner races of the cartridge with the corresponding reaction forces and moments from the bearings being applied to the rotor. The coupled rotor–cartridge model was used to investigate the shaft motion and bearing dynamics as the system traverses critical speeds. A comparison of the analytical and experimental shaft motion results resulted in minimal correlation but showed similarity through the critical speeds. The cartridge model allowed for thorough investigation of bearing component dynamics. Effects of ball material properties were found to have a significant impact on turbocharger rotor and bearing dynamics.

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