The use of couplings for high-speed turbocompressors or pumps is essential to transmit power from the driver. Typical couplings are either of the lubricated gear or dry diaphragm type design. Gear couplings have been the standard design for many years and recent advances in power and speed requirements have pushed the standard design criteria to the limit. Recent test stand and field data on continuous lube gear type couplings have forced a closer examination of design tolerances and concepts to avoid operational instabilities. Two types of mechanical instabilities are reviewed in this paper: (1) entrapped fluid, and (2) gear mesh instability resulting in spacer throw-out onset. Test and results of these types of instabilities and other directly related problems are presented together with criteria for proper coupling design to avoid these conditions. An additional test case discussed shows the importance of proper material selection and processing and what can happen to an otherwise good design.

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