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In previous chapter, we considered rotor-bearing systems for a single mass rotor with different level
of complexity at supports. We analysed the rotor system for the translatory and rotary motions by
considering the respective inertias. However, we neglected an important effect on dynamic behaviours
of the rotor system so called the gyroscopic effect, which predominates especially for high speed
rotor. In the present chapter also we shall still be dealing with a single-mass rotor system; and again
with the assumption of rigid bearings. However, now we shall include the effect of gyroscopic effects
and will explore the motion of the rotor for the synchronous as well as the asynchronous whirl. For
the present case, we shall analyse the rotor system by two different approaches, firstly by the quasistatic analysis (which gives a better physical insight into the effect of gyroscopic effects, however,
can be applied practically to simple systems only), and secondly by the dynamic analysis (which can
be easily extended to multi-DOF systems). An important aspect, which we will observe from the
present chapter, is that because of the gyroscopic effect the whirl natural frequency becomes
dependent on the rotor spin speed. Another interesting phenomenon that can be observed is that the
rotor can have the forward and backward whirling motion. Moreover, for the present case the
distinction among the rotor spin speed, the whirl natural frequency, and the critical speed will be
made clearer.

When a relatively large disc (or rotor) spins at a very high speed about its longitudinal (polar) axis,
then it has a large angular momentum and it is the main characteristics of the rotors to carry a
tremendous amount of rotary power. However, if it has precession (slow or fast) about its transverse
(diametral) axes, which comes due to flexibility of bearings or of shafts itself, then it develops change
in the angular momentum due to change in its direction. This leads to an inertia moment called the
gyroscopic moment. Basically the gyroscopic moment develops due to the Coriolis acceleration

Figure 5.1(a) and (b) shows the motion of a disc in a simply supported shaft, when the disc is at the
mid-span and away from it, respectively. For the latter case, the precession of the disc about its
diametral axes takes place along with the spinning about the polar axis, which leads to the gyroscopic
moment on the disc and it depends upon the spin speed among other parameters. Rotor systems with a
point mass and with an appreciable mass moment of inertia are shown in Figures 5.1(c) and (d),
respectively. The critical speeds of both the rotor systems will not the same. This is due to the fact


that centrifugal forces of particles of the disc do not lie in one plane during motion and thus from a
moment tending to straighten the shaft and it will be discussed subsequently in more detail.

(a) A simply supported shaft with a disc at the


(b) A simply supported shaft with a disc near the


(d) A cantilever shaft with a rigid disc at the free

(c) A cantilever shaft with a point disc at the
free end
Figure 5.1. The spinning and precession (whirling) motions of the disc

5.1 Angular Momentum

The angular velocity is a vector quantity. A change in the magnitude and direction of angular velocity
results in the angular acceleration. Let in Fig. 5.2, OA rotates about the z-axis in the x-y plane and OB
is the position it takes after an infinitesimal time interval. Let be the infinitesimal angular
displacement of OA, it is the angular displacement vector along z-axis. Similarly, the angular velocity,
angular acceleration and angular momentum are also vector quantity. The gyroscopic moment can be
understood using the principle of angular momentum.

Figure 5.2. An angular displacement vector


A particle of mass, m, is moving with a velocity, v. From Figure 5.3, the linear momentum, L, is
defined as
L = mv


The direction and sense of the linear momentum are same as the linear velocity.

Figure 5.3. A particle in a linear motion

Now, referring to Figure 5.4(a) in which a point mass m is revolving at a radius r in a plane, the
angular momentum is defined as the moment of linear momentum

Angular momentum = H = ( mv ) r = mr 2 = I p


where Ip is the polar mass of inertia of particle of mass, m, about its axis of rotation; and is the
angular velocity. The direction of the angular momentum will be same as angular velocity.

(b) A flywheel in rotation

(a) A point mass in rotation

Figure 5.4 Angular momentum

Referring to Figure 5.4(b) in which a flywheel of the mass m and of the radius of gyration k is rotating
with an angular speed of, , the angular momentum is given as
H = ( mv ) k = ( mk 2 ) = I p


I p = mk 2



5.2 Gyroscopic Moments in Rotating Systems

In the present section, the concept of the gyroscopic moment will be introduced with the help of
simple rotating systems, e.g., discs and blades. These basic concepts you might have studied to some
extent in the subject of dynamics of machinery (Wrigley, et al., 1969; Bevan, 1984; Mabie and
Reinholts, 1987; Rao and Dukkipati, 1995).

5.2.1 Motion of a rotor mounted on two bearings

Let us assume that a rotor with a flexible massless shaft carrying a disc is constraint to move in a
vertical (single) plane. It is assumed that the constraint is not providing any friction forces during the
motion of the shaft that plane. A rotor is spinning with a constant angular velocity, ; the angular
momentum, H, will be given by I p . Let x-y-z be the rectangular coordinate system (see Figure 5.5),
where oz is the spin axis, ox is the precession axis, and oy is the gyroscopic moment axis.

Figure 5.5. A rotor mounted on two bearings with a single plane motion

Let the disc (or the spin axis) precession angle is from z-axis as shown in Figure 5.5. The angular
momentum will change from H (i.e., OC) to H (i.e., OD), which can be written as (see the triangle
OCD which is in y-z plane)

H = H + H



where H is the change in angular momentum (i.e., CD). It is due to change in the direction of H.
From OCD, we have
CD = ( OC )


H = H ( )


H = I p

Now the rate of change of the angular momentum can be written as



= lim I p
= I p



where is the uniform angular velocity of precession, and M is the gyroscopic moment. The

gyroscopic moment will have same sense and direction as H , i.e. CD . In the vector form, equation
can be written as

M = H = I p ( )


From the right hand screw rule, we will get the direction of gyroscopic moment, i.e. along negative yaxis (the clockwise direction when seen from above, see Figure 5.5). Whenever an axis of rotation or
spin axis changes its direction about another orthogonal axis then a gyroscopic moment acts about the
third orthogonal axis. This is active moment acting on the disc, which means disc will experience this
moment. In other word, if to a spinning disc a moment, M, is applied then precession take place in an
attempt to align the angular momentum vector, Ip, with the applied moment vector.

If we consider the free body diagram of the disc, the reaction from the shaft on to the disc-hub will be
the active moment (i.e., in the negative y-axis direction). Hence, the shaft will experience a reactive
moment from the disc hub in the opposite direction as the active moment on to the disc (i.e., in the
positive y-axis direction). Let F be a force on the shaft from the bearing, then its direction due to
gyroscopic moment will be as shown in Figure 5.5. A reactive moment will be experienced by
bearings through the shaft in the opposite direction as the active gyroscopic moment on to the disc
(i.e., a couple due to F forces).

5.2.2 Gyroscopic moments though Coriolis component of accelerations:

Figure 5.6 shows a disc that is spinning with a angular velocity, , and a precession angular velocity,

. Let z and y be the spin and precession axes, respectively. It is assumed here also that the disc has


precession about a single axis (i.e., y-axis). An infinitesimal mass, dm, at point P has coordinates

( r , )

in polar coordinates or (x, y) in rectangular coordinates. From Figure 5.6(a), it can be seen that

the velocity of point P, i.e. r , will be perpendicular to OP. The velocity component along x-axis will
be r sin = y and whereas along the y-axis is r cos = x . Particle P has the motion along the
x-axis (i.e., parallel to the x-axis) and simultaneously it is rotating about y-axis as shown in Figure
5.6(c). Hence, a Coriolis component of acceleration, i.e. 2( y ) , acts along positive z-axis direction
(Figures 5.6(a) and (b)).
Similarly for particle P , the Coriolis acceleration component will be 2( y ) ; and it acts along
negative z-axis direction as shown in Figures 5.6(a and b). The force due to acceleration of the
particle P is given as
F = dm(2 y )


Figure 5.6 The gyroscopic moment on a rotating disc (a) x-y plane (b) y-z plane and (c) z-x plane

Let us first consider the moment about x-axis, and due to the particle P it is dm(2 y 2 ) , hence the
total moment about x-axis will be


M xx = 2 y 2 dm = 2 I xx = I p



I xx = y 2 dm = 12 I p

(for thin disc)


where Ip (or Izz) is the polar moment of inertia. The component of the gyroscopic moment, Mxx, acts
along the positive x-axis direction (Fig. 5.6(a)). Now consider the moment about y-axis and due to the
particle P it is dm(2 xy ) , hence the total moment about y-axis will be

M yy = 2 xydm = 2 I xy



I xy = xydm = 0

(for symmetric disc)


It should be noted that if the disc were not symmetric then I xy 0 , so we would get M xx and M yy
both non-zero. Hence, accelerating forces arising out of these Coriolis acceleration components due to
motion of particles in x-direction, produce a net moment (or a couple) M, along positive x-axis
direction only. There is no Coriolis component of acceleration when we analyze the motion of particle
in the y-direction since it has no precession about x-axis, x = 0 (i.e., since the single plane
precession is assumed) as shown in Figure 5.6(b).

5.2.3 Gyroscopic moments in a rotating thin blade

In Figure 5.7, we have z-axis as the axis of spin and y-axis as the axis of precession. Let and are
the two orthogonal principal axes of the thin rod, with making an angle of with the x-axis. Due to
the Coriolis component of acceleration the force at a point P, of the mass dm is given as
dF = dm {2 ( r sin )}


which acts along the spin axis (positive z-axis direction in Figure 5.7b). The moment due this force
about -axis is given as (with the moment arm of r)

dM = dFr = dm 2 r 2 sin


The total moment of all particles above and below the -axis is given as

M = ( 2 sin ) r 2 dm = 2 sin r 2 dm = 2 sin I




I = r 2 dm


Figure 5.7 A thin rod rotating about its centroid axis (a) x-y plane (b) y-z plane

From the parallel axis theorem, we have

I p = I + I I


where I p = I zz is the polar moment of inertia. Since the rod is thin, hence we have I 0 . In view of
equation (5.16), equation (5.14) reduces to
M = 2 I p sin


which is along the negative -axis direction as shown in Figure 5.7. Taking component of moment
M along the x- and y- axes, as
M xx = 2 I p sin 2 = I p (1 cos 2 )


M yy = 2 I p sin cos = I p sin 2



Figure 5.8 A two-bladed propeller


There are two gyroscopic moments, respectively, about the x- and y-axes. This comes because of the
asymmetric body of revolution, i.e. I I . From equations (5.18) and (5.19) it can be seen that M xx
and M yy are varying with , i.e. M xx varies from 0 to 2 I p ; and M yy varies from I p to I p .
The above analysis is applicable to the two-bladed propeller or the airscrew (Figure 5.8). The above
analysis can be extended to a multi-bladed propeller (e.g., Fig. 5.9).

5.2.4 Gyroscopic moments in a multi-bladed propeller: Let n be the number of blades ( n 3 ) and

= 2 / n is equally spaced angle between two blades. Let us consider one of the blades (designate as
1), which is inclined to an angle with x-axis as shown in Figure 5.10. Let the moment of inertia of
each blade about -axis (i.e. perpendicular to the blade) be equal to I which in turn is equal to the
polar mass moment of inertia of blade 1 alone, i.e., I p1 ; since I p1 = I + I I . Total polar moment
of inertia of the airscrew about the axis of rotation (z-axis) is: I p = nI p1 .

Figure 5.9 A three-bladed propeller

Figure 5.10 One of the blade positions

Total moment about x-axis of blade 1 is given as

M x1 = 2 y 2 dm = 2 I p1 sin 2 = I p1 (1 cos 2 )


The location of other blades is given by the phase angle ( n 1) (the phase angle of various blades
with respect to one of the reference blade would be (n 1) , where is the phase difference between
two blades). Noting equation (5.20), on summing up the moments due to all n blades, we have
M x = I p1 [1 cos 2 ] + I p1 1 cos 2 ( + ) + I p1 1 cos 2 ( + 2 ) + ...

+ I p1 1 cos 2 { + ( n 1) }



M x = I p1 n cos 2 + cos 2 ( + ) + cos 2 ( + 2 ) + ... + cos 2{ + ( n 1) }



which can be simplified as

cos 2{ + 0.5 ( n 1) } sin n

M x = I p1 n



Since = 2 / n for n > 2 , we have = 2 / 3, 2 / 4,  and sin 0 for all these values.
Moreover, since n = 2 for all value of n, we have sin n = sin 2 = 0 . Hence for all values of
n > 2 , from equation (5.23) we can write

M x = nI p1


M x = I p


For n = 2, we have sin = sin = 0 and sin n = sin 2 = 0 , hence from equation (5.23), we get

M x = I p1 (1 cos 2 )


The gyroscopic moment about y-axis for a blade as shown in Figure 5.10, which makes angle with
x-axis, is
M y = I p1 sin 2


The total moment about y-axis for n blades with phase angles of (n 1) for n = 1, 2, , is

M yy = I p1 sin 2 + sin 2 ( + ) + ... + sin 2 ( + ( n 1) )


The sine series in equation (5.27) will be zero for all values n > 2 , hence

M y = 0 for n > 2


So with equations (5.24) and (5.28), we can conclude that for the multi-bladed propeller with number
of blades 3 and above is equivalent to a plane disc with the polar mass moment of inertia I p = nI p1
about the axis of rotation.

The objective of the present section was to have understanding of the gyroscopic moment in rotating
components especially the direction of application. Now we shall deal with effects of gyroscopic
moment, and the procedure of obtaining natural frequencies and critical speeds in simple single-mass
rotor systems with the synchronous and asynchronous whirls (Den Hartog, 1984).


5.3 Synchronous Motion

We are considering the case of perfectly balanced rotor, however, it is assumed to be whirling at its
critical speed in slightly deflected position. The angular whirl frequency, v, of the centre of the shaft is
assumed to be same as the angular velocity of rotation as of shaft (i.e., the spin speed). This implies
that a particular point of the disc which is outside will always be outside; the inside point will always
remains inside; it is called the synchronous motion. The shaft fibres in tension always remain in
tension while whirling, and similarly the compression fibres always remain in compression. Thus any
individual point of the disc moves in a circle in a plane perpendicular to the undistorted centre line of
the shaft. We will consider two representative cantilever (overhung) rotor cases, firstly a thin disc at
the free end and secondly a long stick at the free end.

5.3.1 A cantilever rotor with a thin disc

In the present section, a thin disc attached to a flexible cantilever shaft at its free end is considered. In
Fig. 5.11b, let points C and G are the shaft centre and the disc centre of gravity, respectively. Since no
unbalance in the rotor, hence points C and G are coincident. Let and x are the linear and angular
displacements of the disc at the centre of shaft, C. The centrifugal force of a mass element dm at point
P with coordinate (r, ) is 2r1 dm and is directed away from point B (a point on the bearing axis as
shown in Figure 5.11b). It can be considered as two force vectors, the one when dm is assumed to be
rotated about shaft center C (along CP) and the second force when C itself is rotating about B (along
BC). Two similar triangles BCP and EFP can be constructed to represent these three forces (Fig.
5.11b). The component in the vertical direction is 2 dm and is directed vertical down. When these
component forces are added together will give a force and no moment (Fig. 5.12 (a and b)). Whereas,
the component in the radial direction is 2r dm and is directed away from the disc centre C. When
these component forces are added together will give zero force and the moment will be non-zero (Fig.
5.12 (c and d)). These will be illustrated now. The force 2 dm for various masses add together will
give (Fig. 5.12 (a and b))
Fy = m2

where m is the total mass of the disc. This force acts downward at C.


Figure 5.11 A cantilever rotor with centrifugal forces on the rigid disc

Figure 5.12 The centrifugal force on a particle of the disc

(a and b) due to pure spinning motion, and (c and d) due to pure whirling motion


The force 2r dm are all radiate from the center of the disc C. From Figure 5.12 (c and d), the ycomponent of the force, 2r dm, is 2rsin dm = 2y dm (since y = rsin) and the moment arm of this
elemental force is y x . Thus the moment of the centrifugal force of a small particle dm is
dMyz = (2y dm) yx = 2y2x dm

and it will act in the negative x-axis direction (Fig. 5.12c). The total moment Myz of centrifugal forces

M yz = 2 y 2x dm = 2x y 2 dm = 2x I d


where Id is the area moment of inertia of the disc about one of its diameter. The x-component forces

2rcos dm = 2x dm (since x = rcos) will balance themselves since these forces are on the plane of
the disc (Fig. 5.12(c and d)).
Thus in totality the end of the shaft is subjected to a force, m2, and to a moment, Id2x, under the
influence of this it assumes a linear deflection and an angular deflection x. This can happen only at
a certain speed , i.e. at the critical speed. Thus the calculation of critical speed is reduced to a quasistatic problem (in which the dynamic forces are considered as time-independent), Now the objective
is to find at which value of a shaft will deflect and x under the influence of Fy = m2 and Myz =


Figure 5.13 A cantilever beam with loadings at the free end

The linear angular displacement of the free end of the cantilevered (fixed-free end conditions) beam
as shown in Figure 5.13 will be (Timoshenko and Young, 1968)

Fy l 3

M yz l 2
2 EI

m ) l
I )l


2 EI



x =

Fy l 2
2 EI

(= m ) l ( I ) l

M yz l





It should be noted here that the above relations can also be developed for other boundary conditions
such as simply supports, fixed-fixed, fixed-hinged etc. It requires calculation of influence coefficients
by using the deflection theory of strength of materials. Now the above relations can be used to find
critical speeds for the fixed-free boundary condition. Equations (5.30) and (5.31) can be rearranged as

2 l
1 + I d 2
x = 0
3 EI
2 EI


2 l
2 l

+ 1 x = 0

+ I d



This homogeneous set of equations can have a solution for and x only when the determinant

2 l
2 l

2 EI



+ 1


which gives the frequency equation as

12 EI ml 2
12 E 2 I 2

mI d l
mI d l 3

4 + 2


Defining the critical speed function, cr and the disc mass effect, , as

cr =

ml 3


ml 2


Equation (5.35) can be written as

12 = 0

cr4 + cr2


With the solution


2 12
= 6 6 +



The positive sign will give a positive value for cr2 or a real value for cr and the negative sign will

give a complex value of the critical speed, which has no physical significance. Plot of 

versus is

given in Figure 5.14.


Figure 5.14 Variation of the critical speed function with the disc effect

It should be noted that the critical speed of the rotor increases with the disc mass effect, . That
means the effective stiffness of the rotor system increases due to the thin disc rather than a point-mass
disc. This can be seen from Fig. 5.11 that the effect of centrifugal forces is to resist the tilting of the
disc thereby increasing the effective stiffness of the rotor system. Overall for the synchronous whirl
condition due to the gyroscopic effect the (forward) critical speed of the system increases. It will be
shown that for anti-synchronous whirl condition due to gyroscopic effect the (backward) critical speed
of the system decreases. Two limiting cases of Fig. 5.14 are discussed as follows:

Case 1: A disc having point-mass

For the disc effect = 0 (i.e., the concentrated mass of the disc) from equation (5.37), we have

4cr2 12 = 0

cr2 = 3


Noting equation (5.36), above equation gives


ml 3


cr =

ml 3

It gives the synchronous critical speed of disc having point-mass for the cantilever case.



Case 2: A disc having infinite size

For (i.e., a disc for which all the mass is concentrated at a relatively large radius, Id .) no
finite angular displacement x is possible, since it would require an infinite torque, which the shaft
cannot furnish. The disc remains parallel to itself and the shaft is much stiffer than without the disc
effect (i.e., = 0). From equation (5.37) for , we get

cr2 (cr2 12 ) = 0

since cr2 0 hence cr2 = 12

cr =

12 EI

ml 3


It should be noted that for the present case one of the solution cr2 = 0 is considered as not feasible.
However, when - it is a feasible solution and the natural frequency of the system would be
zero. This particular issue will be considered in the next section by replacing the thin disc with a long
stick, which requires a separate analytical treatment; and it has been treated only for the pure
rotational motion.

5.3.2 A cantilever rotor with a long stick

For the present case, the disc at free end of a cantilever rotor has considerable amount of length as
shown in Figure 5.15. The couple of centrifugal forces for this case are such; it tries to push away the
rotor from the static equilibrium position angularly as shown in Figure 5.16. For the present case also
the synchronous whirl condition is assumed. For the thin disc case, the couple of centrifugal forces try
it to bring back to static equilibrium position angularly. In Figure 5.16 principal axes directions are (1)
and (2). The coordinate of a point mass dm is (y, z).

Figure 5.15 A cantilevered rotor with a long stick at the free end


Figure 5.16 Centrifugal forces in a cantilevered rotor with a long stick at the free end
For the present case, it is assumed that no unbalance is present in the rotor (i.e., the shaft geometrical
centre C and the centre of gravity G are coincident) and the centre of gravity G of the body is
positioned in the axis of rotation x (i.e., no linear displacement, = 0). Hence, there is no net
centrifugal force, m2, and only a moment is present (where m is the mass of the long stick). The
force on a particle is 2y dm and its moment arm about y-axis is z (Fig. 5.16), so that the moment is
dMyz = 2yz dm


For the thin disc we have z = y x so above equation reduces to dMyz = 2y2 x dm (see equation (5.29)
). Now for the whole body, we have



Let 1 and 2 be the principal axes along the longitudinal and transverse directions of the long stick
(Fig. 5.16), respectively. Let the mass moment of inertia about these principal axes be I1 and I2, which
are the polar and diametral mass moment of inertias, respectively. This set of axes is at an angle of x
with respect to the y-z axes as shown in Figure 5.16. The product of inertia (it is identical to the shear
stress in the subject of the strength of materials) about y-z axes is defined as

yzdm =

I1 I 2
sin 2 x ( I1 I 2 ) x


Here the angular deformation, x , is assumed to be small. For the thin disc I1 = Ip = 2Id and I2 = Id so
that equations (5.44) and (5.43) gives Myz = 2 Id x , which is same as equation (5.29). However, for
a disc of the diameter D and the thickness b (Fig. 5.16), we have for the present case


I1 =

mD 2

I2 =


mD 2 mb 2


On substituting equations (5.44) and (5.45) into equation (5.43), we get





For moment of the centrifugal forces is to be zero, from above equation, we have
mD 2 mb 2



or b = 0.866 D

and it becomes negative for b > 0.866D (i.e., for the long stick) and it is positive for b < 0.866D ( i.e.,
for the thin disc). Table 5.1 gives the summary of gyroscopic moment with its sign for different ratio
of b and D. Equation (5.46) can be written as


mD 2 mb 2
Id =



It can be found that the net resultant force will also be same for the long stick and the thin disc, when
we consider both the linear and angular motions simultaneously. Thus, the critical speed analysis of
the previous section will be valid for the present case also, when we consider both the linear and
angular motions simultaneously. Hence, Figure 5.14 of the previous case will still be applicable for
the range of thin disc. However, plot from the above equation will represent both the long stick and
thin disc cases as shown in Fig. 5.17, since the form of net moment equations (5.48) and (5.49) are
identical. From equation (5.38), we have

2 12
= 6 6 +






mD 2 mb 2
Id =




Figure 5.17 Variation of the critical speed function with the disc effect
The condition for which the square root term in equation (5.50) remain always positive is

2 12
6 + > 0

( 3 1)


+ 3 > 0


From above equation it can be observed that both terms are always positive for positive value of ,
since the first term is a square term and the second term is positive. For a negative value of , the first
term in the above inequality is always positive; and it is always greater than the second term. Hence
for all real value of , above inequality is true (for imaginary values of we may violate the
inequality however, it is not a feasible case in real systems) It means we will get always a real root
from equation (5.50) when we consider a positive sign in front of the square root. For 0 again
equation (5.40) would be valid. For from equation (5.50), critical speeds are cr2 12 and

cr2 0 , respectively, for the positive and negative signs.

Table 5.1 Gyroscopic effects for different geometries of the disc/stick
Relation between b and D

Sign of Id

Gyroscopic moment sign

b = 0.87 D

b > 0.87D (Long stick)



b < 0.87 D (Thin disc)




For the long stick case, it is assumed that the shaft extend to the centre of the cylinder without
interference. If shaft is attached to the end of the cylinder, the elastic-influence coefficients are
modified. The phenomenon described in the present section is generally referred to as a gyroscopic
effect. Now with some numerical examples the calculation of critical speeds would be demonstrated.

Example 5.1 Obtain the transverse critical speed for the synchronous motion of a cantilever rotor as
shown in Figure 5.18. Take mass of the thin disc, m, as 1 kg with the radius, r, as 3 cm. The shaft is
assumed to be massless; and its length and diameter are 0.2 m and 0.01 m, respectively. Take shaft
Youngs modulus of the shaft material as E = 2.11011 N/m2.

Figure 5.18
Solutions: Case I: For the disc effect = 0 (i.e., the concentrated mass of the disc) from equation
(5.40), we have

3 2.1 1011 4.909 1010
= 196.61 rad/s
ml 3
1 0.23

cr =





(0.01)4 = 4.909 1010 m 4 ;

d = 0.01 m;

m =1 kg;

l = 0.2 m


Case II: Considering the disc as rigid (i.e., 0 ), from equation (5.38), we have

2 12

cr = 6 + 6 +
= 6
= 1.7431
+ 6
0.0056 0.0056



ml 2


mr 2

ml 2

= 0.0056 ;
4l 2 4 0.22

Now, from equation (5.53), we have



cr = cr

ml 3
1 0.23
= cr
= 0.00881cr
2.1 1011 4.909 1010


On substituting value of 
 from equation (b) into equation (d), the critical speed is given by

cr =


= 197.86 rad/s


It should be noted that as compared to case I the critical speed is more, which is expected due to
increase in the effective stiffness while considering the diametral mass moment of inertia of the disc
For the present case I d = 14 mr 2 = 14 1 0.032 = 2.25 10 4 kg-m2, which is very less that is why the
increase in the critical speed is marginal. Reader can check the change in the critical speed, for
example, with radius of the disc equals to 6 cm. The effect would be far more predominant in the
limiting case, when disc is very large that is , the critical speed can be calculated from
equation (5.41), as

cr =

12 EI

ml 3

12 2.1 1011 4.909 1010

= 393.22 rad/s
1 0.23


Example 5.2 Obtain the transverse critical speed for the synchronous motion of a rotor as shown in
Figure 5.19. The shaft is assumed to be fixed supported at one end. Take dimensions of the cylinder
(stick) as (i) D = 0.2 m, b = 0.0041 m (ii) D = 0.0547 m, b = 0.0547 m (iii) D = 0.0361 m, b = 0.1649
m and (iv) D = 0.0547 m, b = 0.1093 m. Parameters D and b are the diameter and the length of the
cylinder. The shaft is assumed to be massless and its length l and diameter d are 0.2 m and 0.01 m,
respectively. Take the Youngs modulus of the shaft material as 2.11011 N/m2 and the density of the
cylinder material as 7800 kg/m3.

Figure 5.19 A rotor with a long stick


Solution: For the long stick the critical speed is given as

cr = cr

ml 3



2 12
cr = 6 + 6 +

ml 2

mD 2 mb 2
Id =




Above equation is valid for all value of except for = 0 (i.e., the thin disc). For = 0 we have the
relation given by equation (5.40) and it is given as

cr =

ml 3

cr =

so that

ml 3

ml 3 = 3 = 1.732
ml 3





d4 =

m = 1 kg,


0.014 = 7.854 109 m4;

EI = 1649.34 N-m2

l = 0.2 m

Hence, for = 0 (thin disc), we have

= 454.06
1 0.23


cr =

3 1649.34
= 786.45
1 0.23


Table 5.2 summarises the calculation of rotor parameters and critical speeds from the above
equations. It should be noted the choice of the D and b are such that the mass of the disc remains the
same for all cases. For the point mass parameters D and b are not defined. On comparing the cases of
point mass and thin disc, the increasing trend in the critical speed is observed. For short stick (with D
= b) the disc parameter, , becomes negative with a very low value. This leads to very high value of
critical speed. However, for the long stick again the trend is towards decrease in critical speed, where
the disc parameter, , remains negative with a relatively high value.


Table 5.2 Summary of rotor parameters and synchronous critical speeds

Type of






I d,

(kg-m )



ml 2

ml 3

cr ,

Thin disc








Point mass






Short stick







23 107.11

Long stick








* From equation (5.41)

5.4 Asynchronous Rotational Motion

In this section we will consider the asynchronous whirling motion of the spinning rotor. Consider a
rotor, which is suspended practically at its centre of gravity by three very flexible torsional springs as
shown in Figure 5.20. This will enable us to analyse the effect of rotational displacement of the rotor
on its whirling frequencies, without complicating with the general motion in which both the linear and
angular displacements take place simultaneously. Such general motion is quite complicated and will
be considered in subsequent sections.

The aim is to calculate natural frequencies of modes of motion for which the centre of gravity O
remain at rest and the shaft whirls about O in a cone of angle 2x. Let the effective torsional stiffness
of the support is kt. The disc on the motor shaft rotates very fast, and as the springs on which the
motor is mounted are flexible, the whirling take place at a very slow rate than the shaft rotation. The
angular momentum, H, is given as
H = I p


where Ip is the polar mass moment of inertia of the rotor (i.e., rotating parts of the motor and the disc).
In the case when the whirl is in the same direction as the rotation (i.e., the forward whirl), the time
rate of change of angular momentum will be directed from B to C (i.e., out of the plane of paper in
Figure 5.20(c)). This is equal to the moment experienced by the motor frame from the disc. The
reaction, i.e. the moment acting on the disc from the motor frame is pointing into the paper (in Figure
5.20(c)) and therefore tends to make x smaller. This acts in an addition to the existing spring k.
Hence, it is seen that the whirl in the direction of rotation (forward whirl) makes the natural frequency
higher. In the same manner it can be reasoned that for the whirl opposite to the direction of rotation
(i.e. the backward whirl), the natural frequency is made lower by the gyroscopic effect (Fig. 5.20d).
To calculate the magnitude of the gyroscopic effect, we have


d I p
I p

) = BC = BC AB = dt



(a) A motor on torsional springs

(b) A rotor system with motor suspensions

(c) A conical forward whirl of the rotor (d) A conical backward whirl of the rotor
Figure 5.20 A motor and a rotor system supported on torsional springs

Equation (5.55) can be rearranged as

I p = x I p



Equation (5.56) gives the gyroscopic moment. The elastic moment due to the springs k is equal to kx
and the total moment is equal to
(kt Ip) x


where the positive sign for a whirl in the same sense as the rotation, and the negative sign for a whirl
in the opposite sense. In equation (5.57), the term in the parenthesis is the equivalent spring constant
and hence the natural frequency will be (since we have = nf)


"# $%& ''()


 ! +


%& '





where Id is the diametral mass of whole motor assembly (including frame and disc). The solution of
equation (5.58) can be given as


%& '

%& '

$ -



 . %#


From equation (5.59), it can be observed that the natural frequency of rotor system depends upon the
spin speed of rotor, . The sign before the square root, only the positive sign need to be retained
since the negative sign gives two values of nf, which are both negative, and equal and opposite to the
two positive roots obtained with positive sign before the square root. This is due to the fact that
natural frequencies remain same for the spining of rotor in either direction. Let us define non-

dimensional terms as the frequency ratio as 

  ! /

!(0(120# ,



 345 / be

the non-rotating shaft natural frequency, i.e. without the gyroscopic effect; and the spin ratio 

60.5 /345  9. Equation (5.59) takes the following form

 . 1


Figure 6.9 shows the variation of the non-dimensional natural frequency, nf , with the nondimensional speed, , which govern by equation (5.60). It is seen that the natural frequency is split
into two frequencies on account of the gyroscopic effect (i) a slow one whereby the whirl is opposed
to the rotation (i.e. the backward whirl) and (ii) a fast one where the whirl and rotation directions are
the same (i.e., the forward whirl). It can be seen that we will have two critical speeds one
corresponding to the forward whirl and another backward whirl. These critical speeds can be obtained


by the condition that whenever the spin speed is equal to the natural frequency we will have critical
speeds. It will be illustrated in the following numerical example.



Figure 5.21 The natural frequency variation with the spin speed

Example 5.3 A long rigid symmetric rotor is supported at ends by two identical bearings. Let the
shaft has the diameter of 0.2 m, the length of 1 m, and the material mass density equal to 7800 kg/m3.
The bearing has dynamic parameters as follows: kxx = kyy = k = 1 kN/mm with other stiffness and
damping terms equal to zero. By considering the pure tilting motion and the gyroscopic effect, obtain
whirl natural frequencies of the system, if rotor is rotating at 10, 000 rpm. Obtain also the forward and
backward critical speeds of the rotor-bearing system. Compare the critical speeds of rotor without
considering the gyroscopic effect.

Solution: For the circular cylinder the polar moment of inertia, Ip, and the diameter moment of inertia,
Id, are given as

I p = 12 mr 2 ,


I d = 121 m ( 3r 2 + l 2 )

where m is the mass of the cylinder, r is the radius of the cylinder, and l is the length of the cylinder.
For the pure tilting motion of the rotor, we have the following rotor properties

I p = 12 mr 2 = 12 245.04 (0.1) 2 = 1.2252 kgm 2

I d = 121 m(3r 2 + l 2 ) = 121 245.04{3 (0.10) 2 + 12 } = 21.0326 kgm 2


= 1047.198 rad/s

= 10,000

The effective torsional stiffness due to bearings on the rotor can be obtained by considering Figure
5.22. A long rotor is supported at ends by two identical bearings; consider pure tilting of the rotor by
an angle x , which gives 0.5l x compression of the left bearing and the same amount of extension of
the right bearing. This produces reaction forces at bearings with the magnitude of 0.5kl x and the
direction as shown in Figure 5.22. The moment on to the rotor due these bearing forces would be

0.5kl 2 x . Hence, the effective torsional stiffness would be 0.5kl 2 .

Figure 5.22 Free body diagram of the long rigid rotor supported on bearings

From equation (5.59), we have



I p keff
2 I
2I d
I p


k eff = 12 kl 2 = 0.5 1 106 12 = 5 105 N/m

where the positive sign for the forward whirl and the negative sign for the backward whirl. On
substituting values in equation (a), we get



5 105

1047.198 = [ 30.50 + 157.17 ]
21.0326 2 21.0326
2 21.0326

which gives

nf = 187.67 rad/s (forward whirl) and nf = 126.67 rad/s (backward whirl).




It should be noted that these natural whirl frequencies change with the spin speed of the rotor. For
obtaining the forward and backward critical speeds, we have, respectively, following conditions, i.e.,

= nf and = nf . On substituting these conditions in equation (a), one at a time, we get the
following expression for critical speeds

crF , B =

( Id I p )


where the negative sign is for the forward critical speed, crF , and the positive sign for the backward
critical speed, crB . It should be noted from equation (b) that for I d < I p , the term in side the square
bracket will be negative and there would not be any forward critical speed. For the present case, we
have I d > I p and the corresponding critical speeds are

crF =

5 105
= 158.88 rad/s
( 21.0326 1.2252 )


crB =

5 105
= 149.88 rad/s
( 21.0326 + 1.2252 )


Hence, the rotor is operating well above the critical speeds, since operating speed is 1047.2 rad/s. That
means if we consider perfectly balanced rotor that is rotating at 1047.2 rad/s and if we perturb the
rotor in forward whirl it will have whirl frequency equal to 187.67 rad/s. Moreover, if we perturb the
rotor in backward whirl it will have whirl frequency equal to 126.67 rad/s. While rotor is coasting up
from stationary position to operating speed then it will cross critical speeds, where large oscillations
are expected. An alternative solution of the present problem will be presented in subsequent section
based on dynamic analysis by considering the formulation of governing differential equations of the

When no gyroscopic effect is considered, nf1 and nf4 remain the same; and from equation (a) for
I p = 0 , we get

nf =
3 ,4


= 154.184 rad/s



which is between the forward and backward whirl frequencies (187.67, 126.67) rad/s obtained by
considering the gyroscopic effect and these frequencies are now independent of the rotor spin speed.

If we consider the pure linear (translational) motion, then the critical speed will not experience any
gyroscopic moments, hence corresponding critical speeds can be obtained as

cr = cr =


2 1 106
= 90.34 rad/s



m = 4 d 2l = 7800 4 (0.2)2 1 = 245.04 kg

where d is the diameter of the cylinder. In this case the natural frequency does not change with the
spin speed of the rotor, and remains equal to the critical speeds (90.34 rad/s) as obtained above.

5.5 Asynchronous General Motion

In the previous analysis of the cantilever rotor in section 5.3, the rotor was whirling (the whirling is
defined as a circular motion of the deflected shaft centre line about its undeflected position with small
amplitude) and spinning at the same angular speed and in the same direction. Cases have been
observed where whirling and the spinning occur at different frequencies and sometimes in opposite
directions as described in previous section. The aim of the present section is to calculate natural
whirling frequencies, , of a shaft with a single disc on it at any speed of rotation, , in most general
manners as shown in Figure 5.23, where is the shaft spin speed about deflected centerline and is
the shaft whirling frequency about undeformed position OA. Since a general motion of the disc is
very difficult to visualize hence the following three cases have been considered that is relatively easier
to visualize, and the final motion will be superposition of some of these cases (i.e., cases I and II).

Figure 5.23 A cantilever rotor having a general motion of the spinning and the whirling


Case I: = 0 with = 0 (Pure whirling motion)

The shaft does not spin about its deflected centerline, but deflected centerline OC whirls with 0 about
bearing centre line OA.

Case II: = 0 with = 0 (Pure spinning motion)

The shaft is in the deflected position OC, and it spins with 0 about the deflected centerline OC.

Case III: = (Synchronous whirling and spinning motions)

The shaft fiber in tension remains in tension, and similarly shaft fiber in compression remains in
compression, i.e. the synchronous whirl. It has already been discussed in detail in section 5.3 and it
will not be discussed here again.
With this combined and motions (Cases I and II), our first aim would be to obtain its angular
momentum. For the case II when it does not whirl, but only spins, the angular momentum is equal to
Ip (along AC as shown in Figure 5.23) where Ip is the polar moment of inertia of the disc.

(a) The pure whirling motion

(b) The angular momentum due to the pure whirling motion

Figure 5.24 A pure whirling motion of the rotor (case I)


For case I when no spinning = 0, but only a whirling, : The disc wobbles in the space (about its
diameter) and it is difficult to visualize its (wobbling) angular speed. The visualization can be made
easier by remarking that at the point C the shaft is always perpendicular to the disc, so that we can
study the motion of a shaft segment near C instead of the disc. The line CA is tangent to the shaft at
the point C. The piece ds of the shafting at the disc moves with the line AC, describing a cone with
the point A as an apex as shown in Figure 5.24(a). The velocity of the point C for a whirling in the
count clockwise direction, as seen from the right, is perpendicular and into the paper and its value is

y, where y is the linear displacement of the disc centre.

The line AC lies in the paper at time t = 0 (see Figure 5.24(a)), but at time dt later, point C is behind
the paper by

CC = (y)dt


The angle between two positions of line AC (i.e., AC and AC in Figure 5.24) is

CC ydt
= x dt


x =



when x is the angular displacement of the disc and it is considered to be small. From equation (5.63)
the angle of rotation of AC in time dt is equal to x dt. Hence the angular speed of AC (and of the
disc) is equal to x. The disc rotates about a diameter in the plane of the paper and perpendicular to
AC at C, so that the appropriate moment of inertia is Id (= Ip for the thin disc). The angular
momentum vector of the disc due to whirl is Idx and is shown in Figure 5.24(b). The direction of the
angular momentum can be obtained by considering the tilting of the disc when point C is moving to
C/. During this motion disc will try to tilt such that its left hand side face would be visible to the
observer. It will be clearer when the disc centre will occupy position along the line OB and the disc is
inside the plane of the paper (Fig. 5.25a). At this instant it tilts about its diameter, hence the observer
will see motion of the disc tilting in the clockwise direction when looking the disc from the bottom
along the diagonal. The disc centre will occupy same position on line OB when it is out side the plane
of the paper in that case observer will be able to see the right hand side face of the disc (Fig. 5.25b).
The total angular momentum is the vector sum of Ip and Idx, which have been obtained from cases
I and II, respectively.


Fig. 5.25 Disc tilting during whirling disc is (a) into the plane of paper (b) outside the plane of paper

Figure 5.26 Angular momentums due to the whirling and the spinning of a rotor

Now our aim is to calculate the rate of change of the angular momentum vector, which has been
obtained for Cases I and II, individually. For this purpose we resolve the vector into components
parallel (the direction from O to A as positive) and perpendicular (the direction from B to C as
positive) to line OA as shown in Figure 5.26; and are given, respectively, as

I p cos x + I d x sin x I d ( 2 + x2 )


I p sin x I d x cos x I d x ( 2 )



where I p 2 I d for thin disc, and for a small angular displacement, x, of the disc such that cos x 1
and sin x x .

Components parallel to line OA rotates around line OA in a circle with a radius y and keeps the
magnitude, and the direction of the angular momentum constant during the process so that its rate of
change is zero as shown in Figure 5.27(a).



Figure 5.27 Angular momentum components (a) parallel (b) perpendicular to the undeflected position
of the shaft
Angular momentum components perpendicular to line OA is a vector along the direction of line BC,
and it rotates in a circle with the center as point B as shown in Figure 5.27(b). At time t = 0 this vector
lies in the plane of paper, at time dt this vector moves behind the paper at an angle dt (see Figure
5.27b). The increment in the vector is CC , which is directed perpendicular to the paper and into it,
with the magnitude equal to the length of the vector itself, I d x ( 2 ) , multiplied by dt. It is
given as
I d x ( 2 ) dt


The rate of change of the angular momentum with time is then given as
I d x ( 2 )



Hence, this is an active moment the disc would experience or in other words this is the moment
exerted on the disc by the shaft (i.e., by action). The reaction moment exerted by the disc on the shaft
is the equal and opposite, i.e. a vector directed out of the paper and perpendicular to it at C. Beside
this moment there is a centrifugal force m2y acting on the disc from case II as shown in Figure 5.28.

Figure 5.28 The inertia force and moment acting from the disc on the shaft caused by the shaft
rotation, , and the shaft whirling,

Influence coefficients of the shaft can be defined as: 11 is the deflection y at the disc from 1 N force;

12 is the angle x at the disc from 1 N force or is the deflection y at the disc from1 N-m moment, i.e.
21= 12 (by the Maxwells theorem of strength of materials); and 22 is the angle x at disc from 1N
m moment. For the cantilever beam (Timoshenko and Young, 1968) with a concentrated load F and
the moment M as shown in Figure 5.28, we have

11 =

, 12 = 21 =
2 EI

and 22 =



It should be remembered that other boundary conditions can also be used; however, we have to obtain
the relevant influence coefficients. The linear and angular deflections can be expressed as

y = F11 + M 12

and x = F12 + M 22


It should be noted that the sign convention of M used for obtaining the influence coefficient is
clockwise, however, the reactive moment from the disc to the shaft is counter clockwise, and hence
the negative sign in the moment term. On substituting the force, F, and the moment, M, from Figure
5.28, we get

y = 11m 2 y + 12 { I d x ( 2 )}




x = 12 m 2 y + 22 { I d x ( 2 )}


which can be rearranged in matrix form as

1 11m 2
I d 12 (2 ) y

= 0
1 + 22 I d (2 ) x
12 m


Equations (5.72) are homogeneous equations in y and x, on putting determinant of the matrix equal
to zero, we get the frequency equation as

4 ( m I + m I ) + 3 ( 2m I 2m I ) + 2 ( 22 I d + m11 ) + ( 22 I d 2 ) 1 = 0







Equation (5.73) contain seven system parameters: , , m, Id, 11, 12, and 22, which makes a good
understanding of the solution very difficult. It is worthwhile to diminish the number of parameters as
much as possible by the dimensional analysis. Introducing four new variables

The dimensionless frequency:

= 11m ;

The disc effect:

The elastic coupling:

The dimensionless speed:

I d 22

11 22

= m11


With this new four non-dimensional variables, equation (5.73) becomes

4 2 3 +

+ 1 2 2

( 1)
( 1)


Equation (5.75) is the fourth degree polynomial in , so for a given , carrying a given disc , and
rotating at certain speed , there will be four natural frequencies of the whirl.

Case I: For a point mass of the disc, i.e., Id = 0 or = 0. Multiply equation (5.75) by and on
substituting = 0, we get