Faculty Publications and Other Works -- Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering

Imbalance Vibration Suppression of a Supercritical Shaft via an Automatic Balancing Device

Hans August DeSmidt, University of Tennessee - Knoxville


This research explores the use of Automatic Balancing (AB) devices or “autobalancers” for imbalance vibration suppression of flexible shafts operating at supercritical speeds. Essentially, an autobalancer is a passive device consisting of several freely moving eccentric masses or balancer balls free to roll within a circular track mounted on a rotor that is to be balanced. At certain speeds, the stable equilibrium positions of the balls is such that they reduce or cancel the rotor imbalance. This “automatic balancing” phenomena occurs as a result of the non-linear dynamic interactions between the balancer balls and the rotor transverse vibration. Thus, autobalancer devices can passively compensate for unknown imbalance without the need for a control system and are able to naturally adjust for changing imbalance conditions. Autobalancers are currently utilized for imbalance correction in some single plane rotor applications such as computer hard-disk drives (HDD), CD-ROM drives, machine tools and energy storage flywheels. While autobalancers can effectively compensate for imbalance of planar, disk-type, rigid rotors, the use of autobalancing devices for non-planar and flexible shafts with multiple modes of vibration has not been fully considered. This study explores the dynamics and stability of an imbalanced flexible shaft-disk system equipped with a dual ball automatic balancing device. The system is analyzed by solving a coupled set of nonlinear equations to determine the fixed-point equilibrium conditions in rotating coordinates and stability is assessed via eigenvalue analysis of the perturbed system about each equilibrium configuration. It is determined that regions of stable automatic balancing occur at supercritical shaft speeds between each flexible mode. Additionally, the effects of bearing support stiffness, axial mounting offset between the imbalance and autobalancer planes, and ball/track viscous damping are explored. This investigation develops a new, efficient, analysis method for calculating the fixed-point equilibrium configurations of the flexible shaft-AB system. Finally, a new, effective force ratio parameter is identified which governs the equilibrium behavior of flexible shaft/AB systems with non-collocated autobalancer and imbalance planes. This analysis yields valuable insights for balancing of flexible rotor systems operating at supercritical speeds.