Improper Maintenance, Repair, and Operating Conditions
Shaft misalignment and rotor unbalance contribute to the premature failure of many machine components. To understand how these failures occur and quantify the effects, investigators developed a model of a rotating assembly, including a motor, flexible coupling, driveshaft, and bearings. Equations of motion accounting for misalignment and unbalance were then derived using finite elements. A spectral method for resolving these equations was also developed, making it possible to obtain and analyze dynamic system response and identify misalignment and unbalance conditions.
A 2–3 mm thick electroformed nickel mold showed early cracking under thermal load cycles. To determine the root cause, investigators obtained monotonic and cyclic properties of electroformed nickel at various temperatures and identified possible fatigue mechanisms. With the help of finite element modeling, they analyzed the material as well as the design and in-service application of the mold. They discovered that overconstraining the mold, while it was in service, caused excessive thermal stresses which accelerated crack initiation and propagation. Investigators also proposed remedies to prevent additional failures.