PhD Defence at DTU Mechanical Engineering

PhD Defence 9th May: "Model-Based Control Design for Flexible Rotors Supported by Active Gas Bearings - Theory & Experiment"

Monday 18 Apr 16

Fabián G. Pierart Vásquez from DTU Mechanical Engineering defends his PhD, "Model-Based Control Design for Flexible Rotors Supported by Active Gas Bearings - Theory & Experiment", Monday 9th May from 13:00 to 17:00. The defence takes place in room S09, Building 101, DTU. Professor Ilmar Santos is supervisor.

Gas journal bearings have been increasingly adopted in modern turbo-Machinery due to their numerous indisputable advantages. They can operate at higher speed than most bearing designs, almost without noise or heat generation and in most cases, as in this work, the gas used is air which is cheap, abundant and clean. Nevertheless, this technology has important drawbacks: the low viscosity of the lubricant results in a low load carrying capacity and gas bearings also presents low damping properties, which often lead to a reduced stability range and make dangerous running close to, or across the critical speeds. In order to overcome such limitations, a mechatronic device has been proposed. This device named hybrid active radial gas bearing or simply active gas bearing, combines an aero dynamic gas journal bearing with piezo electrically controlled injectors. In the present work, the control signal applied to the piezo electrically controlled injection is design based on a theoretical model. This approach enables easy modification of any of the numerous physical parameters in the system if needed. The theoretical model used is based on a modified version of Reynolds equation where an extra term is added in order to include the effect of external pressurization. In order to validate the theoretical model, a test rig is used, which consists of a flexible rotor supported by a ball bearing and the active gas bearing.

The thesis has three main focuses and original contributions: Firstly, improvement of the existing theoretical model for active gas bearings, with special attention to the modelling of the injection system. Secondly, the experimental validation of the improved mathematical model in terms of static properties (journal equilibrium position and resulting aero dynamic forces) and dynamic properties (natural frequencies and damping factors of the rotor-bearing system) is performed and finally, the model-based design of controllers that allows improvement of the dynamic properties of the rotor-active gas bearings system and lets the system to safely cross the critical speeds is conducted. The results show a signicant increase in the damping factor of the system, which enables the exible rotor to run safely across the critical speeds and up to 50 % over the second critical speed, without any instability problems. The theoretical and experi-mental results in the active cases clearly show the eciency of having a theoretical model as a design tool for testing different controllers and also show the advantage of applying active lubrication techniques to gas lubricated bearings.