Zhang, Hao (2012) Model Development and Stability Analysis for a Turbocharger Rotor System under Multi-Field Coupled Forces. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Automotive turbochargers have been widely applied in vehicles in order to increase the power output of internal combustion engines by increasing the air to fuel ratio entering the piston cylinders. Turbochargers use the exhaust flow to spin a turbine at speeds of up to 140,000 r/min. Under such extreme working conditions, even a weak vibration can lead to the bearing failure and the whole turbocharger destroyed. In order to guarantee a safe operation, it is necessary to carry out a theoretical research on the dynamics performance of turbochargers. Therefore, the primary objective of this research is to develop a dynamics model for the turbocharger rotor system under multi-field coupled forces and then to study the dynamic characteristics and the stability of its rotor system according to the simulation and experimental results.

A turbocharger is a special kind of rotating machinery because of the following aspects: Firstly, the turbocharger rotor system is supported by floating ring bearings. The impact of nonlinear multi-field coupled forces must be considered. Secondly, the turbocharger rotor system is a multi-span rotor bearing system that makes the modeling and simulation more complicated. Thirdly, the working speed range of the turbocharger covers multiple orders of critical speeds. This flexible rotor system cannot be studied using the conventional theory of rigid rotors.

In this thesis, the lubrication system of a turbocharger is initially investigated. The analytical expressions of the hydrodynamic pressure distribution in the floating ring bearing are derived using the infinitely long bearing theory, taking into account the oil inlet pressure and the cavitation area. The influences of external loads and oil inlet pressure on the oil flow rate into the inner clearance are analytically investigated, while considering the effect of the rotation of the ring. A finite element model is then developed for the turbocharger rotor system. In this model, the excitation forces considered include rotor imbalance, hydrodynamic forces, lubricant feed pressure and the dead weight. The dimensionless form of Capone hydrodynamic force model is extended into the floating ring bearing. Following model development, modal analysis is carried out on both a free rotor system and a turbocharger rotor system. The effects of the structural parameters and working conditions, such as the rotor imbalance, lubricant viscosity, bearing clearances and lubricant feed pressure, on the stability of the turbocharger rotor system are studied. A turbocharger test rig is then designed and developed to monitor the turbocharger shaft motion. The experimental data agree well with the simulation results from the theoretical model.

The primary contribution of the current research can be categorized into the following aspects: Firstly, the analytical expressions of the hydrodynamic pressure distribution have been solved. The equilibrium positions of the journal and ring have been deduced under different external loads and lubricant feed pressure. The relationship between the oil flow rate and the rotational velocity of the shaft has been obtained. Secondly, Capone hydrodynamic force model is introduced and extended to simulate the dynamic performance of the floating ring bearing. The analytical expression of the hydrodynamic forces of double oil films have been derived based on the dimensionless form of the Reynolds Equations. Thirdly, the motion of the turbocharger shaft is simulated within a speed range of 0 to 8,000 rad/s. The influences of structural parameters and working conditions on the stability of the turbocharger rotor system are clearly understood.

It should be noted that the developed model still needs to be validated when turbocharger is operated at a relatively high speed, although it agrees well with experimental results within the speed range of 0 to 2,000 rad/s.

Thesis_Hao_Zhang.pdf - Accepted Version

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