A high speed damper test rig has been assembled at Texas A&M University to develop rotordynamic dampers for rocket engine turbopumps that operate at cryogenic temperatures, such as those used in the space shuttle main engines (SSMEs). Damping is difficult to obtain in this class of turbomachinery due to the low temperature and viscosity of the operating fluid. An impact damper has been designed and tested as a means to obtain effective damping in a rotorbearing system. The performance and behavior of the impact damper is verified experimentally in a cryogenic test rig at Texas A&M. Analytical investigations indicate a strong amplitude dependence on the performance of the impact damper. An optimum operating amplitude exists and is determined both analytically and experimentally. In addition, the damper performance is characterized by an equivalent viscous damping coefficient. The test results prove the impact damper to be a viable means to suppress vibration in a cryogenic rotorbearing system.

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