Typical rotating machinery drive trains are prone to torsional vibrations. Especially those drive trains that comprise one or more couplings which connect the multiple shafts. Since these vibrations rarely produce noise or vibration of the stationary frame, their presence is hardly noticeable. Moreover, unless an expensive torsional-related problem has become obvious, such drive trains are not instrumented with torsional vibration measurement equipment. Excessive levels can easily cause damage or even complete failure of the machine. So, when designing or retrofitting a machine, a comprehensive and detailed numerical torsional vibration analysis is crucial to avoid such problems. However, to accurately calculate the torsional modes, one has to account for the penetration effect of the shaft in the coupling hub, indicated by the shaft penetration factor, on the torsional stiffness calculation. Many guidelines and assumptions have been published for the stiffness calculation, however, its effect on the damping and the dynamic amplification factor are less known. In this paper, the effect of the shaft penetration factor, and hence coupling hub-to-shaft connection, on the dynamic torsional response of the system is determined by an experimental study. More specifically, the damping is of major interest. Accordingly, a novel academic test setup is developed in which several configurations, with each a different shaft penetration factor, are considered. Besides, different amplitude levels, along with both a sweep up and down excitation, are used to identify their effect on the torsional response. The measurement results show a significant influence of the shaft penetration factor on the system’s first torsional mode. By increasing the shaft penetration factor, and thus decreasing the hub-to-shaft interference, a clear eigenfrequency drop along with an equally noticeable damping increase, is witnessed. On the contrary, the influence of the sweep up versus down excitation is less pronounced.
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