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A Brief Introduction to Vibration Analysis of Process Plant Machinery (I)

Basic Concepts I
Machinery Vibration is Complex
Vibration of a machine is not usually simple

Many frequencies from many malfunctions

Total vibration is sum of all the individual vibrations

Unfiltered overall amplitude indicates overall condition

Displacement amplitude is not a direct indicator of vibration severity unless combined with

Velocity combines the function of displacement and frequency

Unfiltered velocity measurement provides best overall indication of vibration severity

Characteristics of Vibration

Vibration is the back and forth motion of a machine part

One cycle of motion consists of
Movement of weight from neutral position to upper limit
Upper limit back through neutral position to lower limit
Lower limit to neutral position
The movement of the weight plotted against time is a sine wave

Simple Spring- Mass system

Movement plotted against time

Free and Forced Vibration

When a mechanical system is subjected to a sudden impulse, it will vibrate at its natural
Eventually, if the system is stable, the vibration will die out
Forced vibration can occur at any frequency, and the response amplitude for a certain force will
be constant

Relationship between Force and Vibration

Forces that cause vibration occur at a range of frequencies depending on the malfunctions
These act on a bearing or structure causing vibration
However, the response is not uniform at all frequencies. It depends on the Mobility of the of the
Mobility varies with frequency. For example, it is high at resonances and low where damping is

Various Amplitudes of a Sine Wave

A = Zero to Peak or maximum amplitude used to measure velocity and acceleration

2A = Peak to Peak = Used to measure total displacement of a shaft with respect to available
bearing clearance
RMS = Root Mean Squared amplitude - A measure of energy - used to measure velocity and
acceleration mainly used in Europe
Average value is not used in vibration measurements

Characteristics of Vibration (2)

Time required to complete one cycle is the PERIOD of vibration
If period is 1 sec then the number of cycles per minute (CPM) is 60
Frequency is the number of cycles per unit time CPM or C/S (Hz)

Peak to peak displacement is the total distance traveled from one extreme limit to the other
extreme limit

Velocity is zero at top and bottom because weight has come to a stop. It is maximum at
neutral position

Acceleration is maximum at top an bottom where weight has come to a stop and must
accelerate to pick up velocity

Root Mean Squared Amplitude

RMS amplitude will be equal to 0.707 times the Peak amplitude if, and only if, the signal is a
sine wave (single frequency)
If the signal is not a sine wave, then the RMS value using this simple calculation will not be

Displacement, Velocity & Acceleration

Displacement describes the position of an object

Velocity describes how rapidly the object is changing position with time
Acceleration describes how fast the velocity changes with time
If Displacement d = x = A sin (wt) , then
Velocity = rate of change of displacement
v = dx / dt = Aw cos wt = Aw sin (wt + 90o)
Acceleration = rate of change of velocity
a = dv /dt = - Aw2 sin wt = Aw2 sin (wt + 180o

A Brief Introduction to Vibration Analysis of Process Plant Machinery (II)

Basic Concept II
Concept of Phase

Weight C and D are in in step

These weights are vibrating in phase

Weight X is at the upper limit and Y is at neutral position moving to lower limit

These two weights are vibrating 90 deg out of phase

Weight A is at upper limit and weight

B is at lower limit
These weights are vibrating 180 deg

Displacement, Velocity and Acceleration Phase Relationship

Velocity leads displacement by 90o; that is, it

reaches its maximum cycle or 90o before
displacement maximum
Acceleration leads displacement by 180o.
Acceleration leads velocity by 90o
Small yellow circles show this relationship clearly

Units of Vibration Parameters

- Micron
= 1/1000 of mm
- Mil
= 1/1000 of Inch
- mm / sec
- inch / sec
- meter / sec2
- g = 9.81 m/sec2 =
English Metric Unit Conversion

1 Mil = 25.4 Micron
1 inch/sec = 25.4 mm/sec
Preferable to measure both in gs because g is directly related to force

Conversion of Vibration Parameters Metric Units

Displacement, Velocity and acceleration are related by the frequency of motion

Parameters in metric units
D = Displacement in microns (mm/1000)
V = Velocity in mm/sec
A = Acceleration in gs
F = Frequency of vibration in cycles /minute (CPM)
V = D x F / 19,100
A = V x F / 93,650
Therefore, F = V / D x 19,100
Conversion of Vibration Parameters English Units

Displacement, Velocity and acceleration are related by the frequency of motion

Parameters in English units
D = Displacement in mils (inch / 1000)
V = Velocity in inch/sec
A = Acceleration in gs
F = Frequency of vibration in cycles /minute (CPM)
V = D x F / 19,100 same as for metric units
A = V x F / 3,690 metric value / 25.4
Relative Amplitude of Parameters

V = D x F / 19,100 in metric units

This means that velocity in mm/sec will be equal to displacement in microns at a frequency of
19100 CPM.
At frequencies higher than 19,100 CPM velocity will be higher than displacement
A = V x F / 93,650
This means that acceleration in gs will be equal to velocity in mm/sec at a frequency of 93,650
At frequencies higher than 93,650 CPM acceleration will be higher than velocity

Selection of Monitoring Parameters

Where the frequency content is likely to be low (less than 18,000 CPM) select displacement
Large, low speed, pumps and motors with sleeve bearings
Cooling tower fans and Fin fan cooler fans. Their gear boxes would require a higher frequency
For intermediate range frequencies ( say, 18,000 to 180,000 CPM) select Velocity
Most process plant pumps running at 1500 to 3000 RPM
Gear boxes of low speed pumps
For higher frequencies (> 180,000 CPM = 3 KHz) select acceleration.
Gear boxes
Bearing housing vibration of major compressor trains including their drivers
Larger machines would require monitoring more than one parameter to cover the entire
frequency range of vibration components
For example, in large compressor and turbines

The relative shaft displacement is measured by permanently installed eddy current

displacement probes.
This would cover the frequency range of running speed, low order harmonics and subharmonic
To capture higher stator to rotor interactive frequencies such as vane passing, blade passing
and their harmonics, it is necessary to monitor the bearing housing acceleration
Monitoring one parameter for trending is acceptable
However, for detailed analysis, it may be necessary to measure more than one parameter

Example in Selecting Units of Measurement

Amplitude measurement units should be selected based upon the frequencies of interest
Following 3 plots illustrate how measurement unit affects the data displayed. Each of the plots
contain 3 separate component frequencies of 60 Hz, 300 Hz and 950 Hz.

This data was taken using displacement. Note how the lower frequency at 60 Hz is accentuated

The same data is now displayed using velocity. Note how the 300Hz component is more

The same data is now displayed using acceleration. Note how the large lower frequency
component is diminished and the higher frequency component accentuated

A Brief Introduction to Vibration Analysis of Process Plant Machinery (III)

Basic Concepts III
Forced Vibration

Exciting Force = Stiffness Force + Damping Force + Inertial Force

Stiffness is the spring like quality of mechanical elements to deform under load
A certain force of Kgs produces a certain deflection of mm
Shaft, bearing, casing, foundation all have stiffness
Viscous Damping
Encountered by solid bodies moving through a viscous fluid
Force is proportional to the velocity of the moving object
Consider the difference between stirring water versus stirring molasses
Inertial Forces
Inertia is the property of a body to resist acceleration
Mainly weight

Physical Concept of Vibration Forces

Stiffness determines the deflection of a rotor by centrifugal forces of unbalance

Determined by the strength of the shaft
Damping force is proportional to velocity of the moving body and viscosity of the fluid
Damping is provided by lube oil
Inertial forces are similar to those caused by an earthquake when acceleration can be very
Acceleration is related to the weight of the rotor
It can cause distortion of structures

Physical Concept of Vibration Parameters

Displacement is independent of frequency

Displacement is related to clearances in machine

If displacement exceeds available clearances, rubbing occurs.
Velocity is proportional to frequency
Velocity is related to wear
In machines higher the velocity, higher the wear
Proportional to square of frequency
Acceleration is related to force
Excessive acceleration at the starting block can strain an athletes leg muscle
Acceleration is important for structural strength

Stiffness Influence

Stiffness is measured by the force in Kgs required to produce a deflection of one mm.
Stiffness of a shaft is
Directly proportional Diameter4 and Modulus of Elasticity
Directly proportional to Modulus of Elasticity
Inversely proportional to Length3
Typical Stiffness values in pounds / inch
Oil film bearings 300,000 to 2,000,000
Rolling element bearings 1,000,000 to 4,000,000
Bearing Housing, horizontal 300,000 to 4,000,000
Bearing housing, vertical 400,000 to 6,000,000
Shaft 1 to 4 diameter 100,000 to 4,000,000
Shaft 6 to 15 diameter 400,000 to 20,000,000

Damping Influence

Damping dissipates energy

Rotor instability can be related to lack of damping

System Damping controls the amplitude of vibration at critical speed.
With low damping there is poor dissipation of energy and amplitude is high
Amplification factor Q through resonance is an indicator of damping

Relationship between Displacement, Velocity and Acceleration (For British


Acceleration Varies as the Square of Frequency

Acceleration is negligible at low frequencies.

It predominates the high frequency spectrum
Measure displacement at low frequency, velocity at medium frequencies and acceleration at
high frequencies

asic Concepts IV
Basic Rotor and Stator System

Forces generated in the rotor are transmitted through the bearings and supports to the
Displacement probe is mounted on the bearing housing which itself is vibrating. Shaft vibration
measured by such a probe is, therefore, relative to the bearing housing
Bearing housing vibration measured by accelerometer or velocity probe is an absolute

Type of Rotor Vibration

Lateral motion involves displacement from its central position or flexural deformation. Rotation
is about an axis intersecting and normal to the axis of rotation
Axial Motion occurs parallel to the rotors axis of rotation
Torsional Motion involves rotation of rotors transverse sections relative to one another about its
axis of rotation
Vibrations that occur at frequency of rotation of rotor are called synchronous vibrations.

Vibrations at other frequencies are nonsynchronous vibrations

The Relationship Between Forced and Vibration

Forces generated within the machine have may different frequencies

The mobility of the bearings and supports are also frequency dependent. Mobility = Vibration /
Resultant Vibration = Force x Mobility

Alternative Measurements on Journal Bearings

Relative shaft displacement has limited frequency range but has high amplitude at low
frequencies running speed, subsynchronous and low harmonic components
Accelerometer has high signal at high frequencies rotor to stator interaction frequencies
blade passing, vane passing

Types of Machine Vibration

Casing Absolute is measured relative to space by Seismic transducer mounted on casing

Shaft relative is measured by displacement transducer mounted on casing
Shaft Absolute is the sum of Casing Absolute and Shaft Relative.

Shaft Versus Housing Vibration

Shaft Versus Housing Vibration

(Selecting the Right Parameter)

Shaft vibration relative to bearing housing

Machines with high stator to rotor weight ratio ( For example in syngas comp the ratio may
exceed 20)
Machines with hydrodynamic sleeve bearings
Almost all high speed compressor trains

Bearing housing vibration

Machines with rolling element bearings have no shaft motion relative to bearing housing.
Rolling Element bearings have zero clearance
Shaft vibration is directly transmitted to bearing housing
Shaft absolute displacement
Machines with lightweight casings or soft supports that have significant casing vibration

Bearing Housing Vibration

Shaft-relative vibration provides

Machinery protection
Low frequency (up to 120,000 CPM) information for analysis
Many rotor- stator interactions generate high frequency vibrations that are transferred to the
bearing housing
Vane passing frequency in compressors
Blade passing frequency in turbines
These frequencies provide useful information on the condition and cleanliness of blades and
These vibrations are best measured on the bearing housing using high-frequency
Periodic measurements with a data collector.

Shaft Rotation and Precession

Precession is the locus of the centerline of the shaft around the geometric centerline
Normally direction of precession will be same as direction of rotation
During rubbing shaft may have reverse precession

IRD Severity Chart

Values are for filtered readings only not overall

Velocity is expressed in peak units (not RMS units)
Severity lines are in velocity
Displacement severity can be found only with reference to frequency.
In metric units
Very rough > 16 mm/sec
> 8 mm/sec
Slightly rough > 4 mm/sec
- 2 4 mm/sec
- 1 2 mm/sec

Basic Concept V
Vibration Transducers

Transducer is a device that converts one form of energy into another.

Microphone - sound (mechanical) to electrical energy
Speaker - electrical to mechanical energy
Thermometer - thermal to electrical energy
Vibration is mechanical energy

It must be converted to electrical signal so that it can easily be measured and analyzed.
Commonly used Vibration Transducers
Noncontact Displacement Transducer
Seismic Velocity Transducer
Piezoelectric Accelerometer
Transducers should be selected depending on the parameter to be measured.

Proximity Displacement Probes

Proximity probes measure the displacement of shaft relative to the bearing housing
They observe the static position and vibration of shaft
By mounting two probes at right angles the actual dynamic motion (orbit) of the shaft can be

Non Contact Displacement Probes

(Eddy Current Proximity Probe)

Measures the distance (or lift off) of a conducting surface from the tip of the probe
Measures gap and nothing else.
Coil at probe tip is driven by oscillator at around 1.5 MHz
If there is no conducting surface full voltage is returned
Conducting surface near coil absorbs energy
Therefore, voltage returned is reduced
Proximitor output voltage is proportional to gap

Eddy Current Proximity Probe System

Eddy Current Proximity Probe System Calibration

Eddy current lift off output is parabolic not linear

Proximitor has a nonlinear amplifier to make the output linear over a certain voltage range
For a 24 Volt system the output is linear from 2.0 to 18.0 volts

Proximity Probe Advantages

Measures shaft dynamic motion

Only probe that can measures shaft position both radial and axial
Good signal response between DC to 90,000 CPM
Flat phase response throughout operating range
Simple calibration
Rugged and reliable construction
Suitable for installation in harsh environments
Available in many configurations
Multiple machinery applications for same transducer vibration, position, phase, speed

Proximity Probe DisAdvantages

Sensitive to measured surface material properties like conductivity, magnetism and finish
Scratch on shaft would be read as vibration
Variation in shaft hardness would be read as vibration

Shaft surface must be conductive

Low response above 90,000 CPM
External power source and electronics required
Probe must be permanently mounted. Not suitable for hand-holding
Machine must be designed to accept probes difficult to install if space has not been provided

Seismic Velocity Pick-Up IRD 544

Permanent magnet is attached to the case. Provides strong magnetic field around suspended
Coil of fine wire supported by low-stiffness springs
Voltage generated is directly proportional to velocity of vibration

When pick up is attached to vibrating part magnet follows motion of vibration

The coil, supported by low stiffness springs, remains stationary in space
So relative motion between coil and magnet is relative motion of vibrating part with respect to
Faster the motion higher the voltage

Velocity Pick-Up - Suspenped Magnet Type

Coil fixed to body, magnet floating on very soft springs

All velocity pick ups have low natural frequency (300 to 600 CPM)
Therefore, cannot measure low frequencies in the resonant range.

Their useful frequency range is above - 10 Hz or 600 CPM

Advantages of Velocity Pick-Up

Measures casing absolute motion

It is a linear self generator with a high output
IRD 544 pick up 1080 mv 0-pk / in/sec= 42 mv / mm/sec
Bently pick up 500 mv 0-pk / in/sec = 19.7 mv / mm/sec
High voltage Output
Can be read directly on volt meter or oscilloscope

Therefore, readout electronics is much simplified

Since no electronics needed in signal path, signal is clean and undistorted. High signal to noise
Good frequency response from 600 to 90,000 CPM
Signal can be integrated to provide displacement
Easy external mounting, no special wiring required

Disadvantages of Velocity Pick-Up

Mechanically activated system. Therefore, limited in frequency response 600 to 90,000 CPM
Amplitude and phase errors below 1200 CPM
Frequency response depends on mounting
Large size. Difficult to mount if space is limited
Potential for failure due to spring breakage.
Limited temperature range usually 120oC
High temperature coils available for use in gas turbines but they are expensive
High cost compared to accelerometers
Accelerometer cost dropping velocity pick up increasing
Note - Velocity transducers have largely been replaced by accelerometers in most applications.

Basic Concept VI
Piezoelectric Accelerometers

Piezoelectric crystal is sandwiched between a seismic mass and outer case.

Preload screw ensures full contact between crystal & mass
When mounted on a vibrating surface seismic mass imposes a force equal to mass x
Charge output of piezo crystal is proportional to applied force
Since mass is constant, output charge is proportional to acceleration

Piezoelectric Accelerometers
Converting Charge to Voltage

The output of accelerometers is charge. Usually expressed as picocoulomb / g (pc/g)

Electronic charge amplifier is required to convert charge signal to voltage signal
Impedance of accelerometer is high. Cannot be connected directly to low impedance
Charge amplifier has high input impedance and low output impedance so that long cables can
be used.
Charge amplifier can be external or internal
In bigger accelerometers amplifier can be located inside

In small, high frequency units amplifier is located outside

Also located outside in high temperature accelerometers

Accelerometers Mounting

Mounted resonance of accelerometer drops with reduction in mounting stiffness.

This causes a reduction in the upper frequency range
Ideal mounting is by threaded stud on flat surface
Maximum stiffness, highest mounted resonance
Resonant frequency 32 KHz. Usable range 10 KHz.
Magnet mounting simpler but lower response
Resonant frequency drops to 7 Khz. Usable range 2 KHz
Handheld probe convenient but very low frequency response
Due to low stiffness of hand resonant frequency < 2 KHz
Frequency response < 1 KHz

Accelerometers Resonance & Frequency Response

Frequency response depends on resonance frequency

Higher the resonance frequency, higher the useful range
Maximum useable frequency range is 1/3rd of resonance
Resonance frequency, however, depends on mounting

Frequency Response - Screw Mount

Screw mount has the highest resonance and, therefore the highest frequency response
This film of silicon grease improves contact.

Make sure bottom of accelerometer contacts measured surface

Frequency Response - Magnet Mount

Weight of magnet determines the mounted resonance

Smaller the magnet higher the frequency response
Use the smallest magnet that holds the accelerometer without slipping. Use a machined
surface for the best grip

Frequency Response Hand Held

Poor high frequency response - < 1 KHz

Response may change with hand pressure
Repeatability is poor when high frequencies are present
Hand holding accelerometers should be avoided except for low frequency work

Filtering Necessary for Accelerometers

Any high frequency vibration in the resonant range will be highly amplified.
Amplification can be up to 30 dB or almost 1,000 times
Filtered amplitudes will be highly distorted

Resonant frequency highly depends on mounting

By previous example 32 KHz for screw mount. Only 2 KHz for handholding
Therefore, resonance range should be filtered out
For screw mount low pass filter should be set at 10 KHz
For hand holding filter should be set at 1 KHz.
Analyst must know frequency response of accelerometer used for different mounting conditions.
Filtering can be done in FFT Analyzer by setting maximum frequency correctly.
Advantages of Accelerometers

Measures casing or structural absolute motion

Rugged and reliable construction
Easy to install on machinery, structures, pipelines
Small size, easiest to install in cramped locations
Good signal response from 600 to 600,000 CPM
Low frequency units can measure down to 6 CPM
High freq units can reach 30 KHz (1,800,000 CPM)
Operates below mounted resonance frequency
Flat phase response throughout operating range
Internal electronics can be used to convert acceleration to velocity Bently Velometer
Units available from a cryogenic temperature of minus 200oC to a high temperature of > 600oC

Disadvantages of Accelerometers

Sensitive to mounting and surface conditions

Unable to measure shaft vibration or position

Not self generating Need external power source

Transducer cable sensitive to noise, motion and electrical interference

Low signal response below 600 CPM (10 Hz)

Temperature limitation of 120oC for ICP Acceleroms

Double integration to displacement suffers from low frequency noise should be avoided

Signal filtration required depending on mounting

Difficult calibration check

Machine With Both Shaft and Bearing Housing Vibration Monitoring

Half Spectrum Plots

Spectrum Plot-1
Machines can vibrate at many different frequencies simultaneously 1x, 2x, 3x, vane passing

Timebase and orbit have frequency information but only a couple of harmonics can be
identified impossible to identify nonsynchronous frequencies
Using an analog tunable analyzer the amplitude and phase at each individual frequency can be
identified but only one at a time.
All frequencies cannot be seen simultaneously.
Trend changes in individual frequencies cannot be followed
Each frequency sweep may take one minute during which short duration transient events may
be missed

A Spectrum Plot by a FFT Analyzer shows all frequencies instantaneously.

Spectrum Plot-2

Spectrum plot is the basic display of a Spectrum Analyzer. It the most important plot for

Spectrum plot displays the entire frequency content of complex vibration signals in a
convenient form.
It has frequency on X-axis and amplitude on Y-axis
It is constructed from sampled timebase waveform of a single transducer displacement,
velocity or acceleration

Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) calculates the spectrum from the sample record which contains a
specific number of waveform samples

Spectrum plots can be used to identify harmonics of running frequency, rolling element bearing
defect frequencies, gear mesh frequencies, sidebands

Periodic motion with more than one frequency

Above waveform broken up into a sum of harmonically related sine waves

Illustration of how the previous signal can be described in terms of a frequency spectrum.
- Description in time domain
- Description in frequency domain

Spectrum Frequency as a Function of Pulse Shape

Construction of Half Spectrum Plot - 1

Raw timebase signal (red) is periodic but complex.

Fourier transform is equivalent to applying of a series of digital filters
Filtered frequency components are shown as sine waves (blue)
Phase for each signal can be measured with respect to trigger signal
We can see components amplitude, frequency and phase

Construction of Half Spectrum Plot - 2

If we rotate the plot so that the time axis disappears we see a two dimensional spectrum plot of
amplitude v/s frequency
Component signals now appear as series of vertical lines.
Each line represents a single frequency
Unfortunately, the phase of the components is now hidden.
It is not possible to see phase relationships in spectrum plot.

These plots show why it is impossible to guess the frequency content from the waveform.
Vertical lines in top plot show one revolution
It is clear that 2x and higher frequencies are present
But 3x and 6x could not be predicted from the waveform.
A Fourier spectrum shows all the frequencies present

Linear and Logarithmic Scaling

Amplitude scaling can be Linear or Logarithmic

Logarithmic scaling is useful for comparing signals with very large and very small amplitudes.
Will display all signals and the noise floor also
However, when applied to rotating machinery work
Log scale makes it difficult to quickly discriminate between significant and insignificant
Linear scaling shows only the most significant components.
Weak, insignificant and low-level noise components are eliminated or greatly reduced in scale
Most of our work is done with linear scaling

Illustration of Linear and Log scales

Log scale greatly amplifies low level signals
It is impossible to read 1% signals in linear scale
It is very easy to read 0.1% signals on the log scale

Limitations of Spectrum Plots

FFT assumes vibration signal is constant and repeats forever.

Assumption OK for constant speed machines .
inaccurate if m/c speed or vibration changes suddenly.
FFT calculates spectrum from sample record
Which has specific number of digital waveform samples
FFT algorithm extends sample length by repeatedly wrapping the signal on itself
Unless number of cycles of signal exactly matches length of sample there will be discontinuity
at the junction
This introduces noise or leakage into the spectrum
This problem is reduced by windowing
Forces signal smoothly to zero at end points
Hanning window best compromise for machinery work

Effect of Windowing

Figure shows a timebase plot with a mixture of 1/2x and 1x frequencies.

Two examples of half spectrum plots are shown below

Without window function the lines are not sharp and widen at the bottom
This leakage is due to discontinuity at sample record ending

When Hanning window is applied to the sample record 1/2x spectral line is narrower and
Noise floor at base is almost gone.

Full Spectrum Plots

Full Spectrum

Half Spectrum is the spectrum of a WAVEFORM

Full Spectrum is the spectrum of an ORBIT
Derived from waveforms of two orthogonal probes
These two waveforms provide phase information to determine direction of precession at each
For phase accuracy they must be sampled at same time
Calculated by performing a FFT on each waveform
These FFTs are subjected to another transform
Data converted to two new spectra one for each direction of precession Forward or Reverse
Two spectra are combined into a single plot
Forward to the right, Reverse to the left

Calculation of Full Spectrum Plot

Waveform and its half spectrum

Waveform and its half spectrum

Combined orbit and its full spectrum

Circular Orbits and Their Full Spectra

Forward Precession
Spectrum on forward side of plot

Reverse Precession
Spectrum on reverse side of plot
Direction of rotation CCW

<-- Forward Precession

Spectrum on forward side of plot
Direction of rotation CW
<-- Reverse Precession
Spectrum on reverse side of plot
Direction of rotation - CW

Full Spectrum of Elliptical Orbit

Orbit is generated by two counter rotating vectors

Forward spectrum length is twice the length of forward rotating vector
Reverse spectrum length is twice the length of reverse rotating vector
Major axis of ellipse = a +b
Minor axis of ellipse = a - b
Original orbit cannot be reconstructed from full spectrum because there is no phase
3 possible orbits are shown

Circular & Elliptical 1x Orbits

Direction of precession is indicated by dominant line of Forward and Reverse


Flatness of ellipse is determined by the relative size of forward and reverse


When orbit is circular there is only one spectrum line

When orbit is a line the spectrum components are equal.

Therefore, the smaller the difference between components, the more elliptical the

Orbit and Spectrum of a x Rub

Orbit and spectrum of a steam turbine with a x rub

Full spectrum clarifies the complex orbit which is a sum of x, 1x and their harmonics.
From the ratio of forward ad reverse components
1x is the largest, forward and mildly elliptical
x and 2x orbits are nearly line orbits
Small component of 3/2 x is third harmonic of x fundamental

Half and Full Spectrum Display of a x Rub

Differentiating x Rub and Fluid Instability from Full Spectrum Plots

Half and full spectrum display of a x rub (red data) and fluid induced instability (blue
Note similarity in appearance of the two half spectrum plots
The full spectrum plots clearly show the difference in the subsynchronous vibration
The x rub orbit is extremely elliptical small difference between forward and reverse
The fluid induced instability orbit is forward and nearly circular large difference
between forward and reverse 1x and x components.
The unfiltered orbits are at the bottom
Full Spectrum Cascade Plot of Machine Start Up

Horizontal axis represents precession frequency

Rotor speed is to the left and amplitude scale is on the right

Order lines drawn diagonally from the origin show vibration frequencies that are
proportional to running speed

Display of spectra plots taken at different speeds during start up

Base of each spectrum is the rotor speed at which the sample was taken
Diagonal lines are Order lines. Usually 1x, 2x and x are plotted
Resonances and critical speed can be seen on 1x diagonal line
Sudden appearance of x indicates rub which can produce harmonics.
Phase relationships cannot be seen on cascade plot.
Many harmonics at low speed usually due to scratches on shaft

Horizontal ellipse shows rub second balance resonance (critical)

Vertical ellipse shows x rub frequency is almost equal to first critical. Slight shift to
right is due to stiffening of rotor system from rub contact.

Full Spectrum Waterfall Plot

Displays spectra with respect to time

Used for correlating response to operating parameters

Time on left and Running Speed on right. Amplitude scale is at extreme right

Plot of compressor shows subsynchronous instability whenever suction pressure is

high (red). 1x component is not shown on plot.

Full spectrum showssubsynchronous vibration is predominantly forward.

Waterfall of Motor with Electrical Noise Problem

High vibration at mains frequency (60 Hz) during start up (red). 1x is low.

Vibration reduces when normal speed and current are reached (green)

When motor is shut down (blue) 60 Hz component disappears suddenly.

1x component reduces gradually with speed.

Conventional spectrum is constructed from the output waveform of a single transducer
Full Spectrum is constructed from the output of a pair of transducers at right angles.
Displays frequency and direction of precession
Forward precession frequencies are shown on right side
Reverse Precession frequencies are shown on left side
Full spectrum is the spectrum of an orbit
Ratio of forward and reverse orbits gives information about ellipticity and direction of
However, there is no information about orientation of orbit
Cascade and Waterfall plots can be be constructed either from half or full spectra

Shaft Orbit Plots (I)

The Orbit

The orbit represents the path of the shaft centerline within the bearing clearance.
Two orthogonal probes are required to observe the complete motion of the shaft within.
The dynamic motion of the shaft can be observed in real time by feeding the output of the two
orthogonal probes to the X and Y of a dual channel oscilloscope
If the Keyphasor output is fed to the Z axis, a phase reference mark can be created on the orbit
The orbit, with the Keyphasor mark, is probably the most powerful plot for machinery diagnosis

Once a gyroscope starts to spin, it will resist changes in the orientation of its spin axis. For
example, a spinning top resists toppling over, thus keeping its spin axis vertical. If atorque, or
twisting force, is applied to the spin axis, the axis will not turn in the direction of the torque, but
will instead move in a direction perpendicular to it. This motion is called precession. The
wobbling motion of a spinning top is a simple example of precession. The torque that causes
the wobbling is the weight of the top acting about its tapering point. The modern gyroscope was
developed in the first half of the 19th cent. by the

Construction of an Orbit

XY transducers observe the vibration of a rotor shaft

A notch in the shaft (at a different axial location) is detected by the Keyphasor transducer.
The vibration transducer signals produce two time base plots (middle) which combine into an
orbit plot (right)

Probe Orientation and the Orbit Plot

On the left side, when the probes are mounted at 0o and 90oR, the orbit plot and oscilloscope
display show the same view.

On the right, when the probes are mounted at 45oL and 45oR, the orbit plots are automatically

The oscilloscope, however, must be physically rotated 45oCCW to display the correct orbit

Examples of 1X and Subsynchronous Orbits

Orbit at left shows subsynchronous fluid-induced instability. Note the multiple keyphasor dots
because the frequency is not a fraction of the running speed
The orbit at right is predominantly 1X. The keyphasor dots appear in a small cluster indicating
dominant 1X behavior

Slow Roll Vector Compensation of 1X Filtered Orbit

Slow roll vector compensation can considerably change the amplitude and phase of the orbit

Slow roll vectors of X= 1.2 mil pp /324oand Y= 1.4 mil pp /231o

Slow roll Waveform Compensation of a Turbine Orbit

Note how compensation makes the orbit (right) much clearer

Shaft Orbit Plots (II)

Not- 1X Compensation of an Orbit

At Left orbit is the uncompensated orbit

At right is the same orbit with the 1X component removed
The remaining vibration is primarily 1/2X from a rub

Measurement of peak-to-peak amplitude of an Orbit

X transducer measurement axis is drawn together with perpendicular lines that are tangent to
maximum and minimum points on the orbit

Direction of Precession in Orbits

In the orbit plot shaft moves from the blank towards the dot. In the plot on left the inside loop is
forward precession
In the right orbit the shaft has reverse precession for a short time at the outside loop at bottom

Effect of Radial Load on Orbit Shape

Orbits are from two different steam turbines with opposite rotation. Both machines are
experiencing high radial loads
Red arrows indicate the approximate direction of the applied radial load.
Red arcs represent the probable orientation of the bearing wall

Deflection Shape of Rotor Shaft

When keyphasor dots of simultaneous orbits at various bearings along the length of the rotor
are joined an estimate of the three dimensional deflection shape of the rotor shaft can be
* This is a rigidly coupled rotor system

Bode and Polar Plot

Vibration Vector

A vibration vector plotted in the transducer response plane

1x vector is 90 mic pp /220o
Zero reference is at the transducer angular location
Phase angle increases opposite to direction of rotation

Polar Plot

Polar plot is made up of a set of vectors at different speeds.

Vector arrow is omitted and the points are connected with a line

Zero degree is aligned with transducer location

Phase lag increases in direction opposite to rotation

1x uncompensated Polar Plot shows location of rotor high spot relative to transducer

This is true for 1x circular orbits and approximately true for 1x elliptical orbits

Bode Plot and Polar Plot Show the Same Detail

Bode Plot displays the same vibration vector data as the Polar Plot
Vibration amplitude and phase are plotted separately on two plots
with speed on the
horizontal axis.

Effect of Slow Roll Compensation

Slow roll compensation removes slow roll runout from filtered vibration
What remains is mainly the dynamic response
Compensated vector has zero amplitude at the compensation speed

Detecting Resonance with Bode & Polar Plots

In a Bode plot balance resonance is indicated by peak amplitude and sharp, significant change
of phase at the frequency of the peak.
On Polar plot rotor modes will produce large, curving loops.Small system resonances are more
easily visible as distinctive small loops