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# Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

INTRODUCTION

Every mechanical system has a series of natural frequencies, each of which has its own damping characteristics. These natural frequencies will lie dormant in a system until they are excited by some external influence or forcing function.

The vibration can be greatly amplified if a forcing function, such as unbalance or a blade pass frequency (# blades X RPM) happens to be within the range of a natural frequency. When such forcing frequencies coincide with (or closely approach) a natural frequency, this is the condition known as resonance.

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## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL FREQUENCY, RESONANCE AND CRITICAL SPEED

The terms natural frequency, resonance and critical speed are often used interchangeably, even by experienced vibration analysts. However, there are distinctions between each of these three terms. For example, a machine may be operating at a resonant frequency, but this may or may not be a critical speed. It is hoped the following definitions will help clarify the differences between each of these important terms.

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## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

a. Natural Frequency:

Reference 2 defines a natural frequency as The frequency of free vibration of a system. The frequency at which an undamped system with a single degree of freedom will oscillate upon momentary displacement from its rest position. In addition, for a multiple degree-of-freedom system, the natural frequencies are the frequencies of the normal modes of vibration. All machines and all structures have a number of natural frequencies. If forced to vibrate at one or more of these natural frequencies, dynamic stresses of 10 to 100X higher than those are induced compared to those which would be generated if these same forces were input at other frequencies lower or higher than these natural frequencies. This only becomes a problem if they are excited (see resonance below). For example, when we perform impulse tests, we are not looking for resonant frequencies, but for natural frequencies which the machine must avoid so that it may not encounter resonance.

## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

Natural Frequency
Every machine will be vibrating at its natural frequency when it is exciting by external force:

## Fn = 60 x (K/m)1/2 = 60 x (Gc/Delta) 2Pi 2Pi

Fn = Gc = K = M = Delta natural frequency , cpm Gravity of earth , m/s2 Stiffness Kg/metre Mass , Kg/m/s2 = Deflection, m

## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

b. Resonance:

Resonance is the condition which occurs when such forcing frequencies do in fact coincide with one or more natural frequencies. These may be a natural frequencies of the rotor, but often can be a natural frequency of the support frame, foundation or even of drive belts. The piping on compressors can be a problem if they resonate. Forcing frequencies include those from sources such as unbalance, misalignment, looseness, bearing defects, gear defects, belt wear, etc. Therefore, it is important to point out resonances can be encountered not only at 1X RPM, but at series of frequencies including 1X RPM, 2X RPM, 3X RPM, etc. Reference 2 defines resonance as the condition of vibration amplitude and phase change response caused by a corresponding system sensitivity to a particular forcing frequency. A resonance is typically identified by a substantial amplitude increase, and related phase shift.

## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

Resonance - Characteristics
1. Lack of response to balance attempts: thus it is almost impossible to balance the rotor having resonance problem. It is necessary to change natural frequency or speed. Highly directional vibration: If resonant, it is common for vibration in resonant direction be 5 to 15 times higher than other direction. Phase Behavior in the resonant measuring direction: 90 degree change of phase with almost 180 degree through resonant Probable phase difference in measuring direction perpendicular to resonant measuring direction: Noticeable phase difference else than 90 degree when measurement in horizontal compare to vertical direction.

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## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

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Frequencies at which resonance can occur: Resonant Vibration = Forcing frequency vibration x Q Resonance can suddenly occur on a long running machine never before subjected to it: For example bearing wear or simple sleeve bearing replacement which can cause a change in natural frequency. One can simply solve this type of problem by proper installation of the bearings and checking for required clearance specifications. Possible effect of coupling changes: Coupling changes can sometimes result in a different torsional natural frequency, particularly if a different diameter coupling is used, or different type. Significant vibration occur in bearings on either side of the coupling.

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## Introduction to Natural Frequency Testing and Instrument

c. Critical Speed:

Reference 3 points out that critical speeds are a special case of resonance in which the vibrating forces are caused by the rotation of the rotor. He also adds that critical speed testing is often more complicated than resonance testing because the natural frequencies encountered are functions of stiffness and mass which may be dependent on machine speed. For example, in the case of a machine with an extended overhung rotor or in the case of general sleeve bearing machines, critical speeds can change their frequency location due to changes in stiffness and/or gyroscopic motion (unlike resonant frequencies for frames, foundations and rolling element bearing machines which have fixed natural frequencies independent of operating speed). Similarly, Reference 1 defines critical speeds as in general, any rotating speed which is associated with high vibration amplitude. Often, the rotor speeds which correspond to natural frequencies of the system. Generally, good design practices mandate that a machine should be designed not to operate within 20% of a critical speed (not 20% of any natural frequency).

Critical Speed

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## Q (amplification factor) = fn / (fh-fl)

fl fh fn = 0.707 An Damping factor = 1 2Q

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