A range of techniques have been used to evaluate the performance of an existing design of gas centrifuge for separating sub-micron particles from gas streams. The rotor dynamics of the system are complex, very dependant on the bearing type, design, and layout. The first harmonic typically occurs at low speeds of about 15,000 rpm and can be of sufficient a high amplitude to require special bearing systems.

This paper analyses the performance of an existing unit with a number of tools, including a computer aided package called ROMAX II that carries out a dynamic vibrational analysis of the self acting foil and annular air thrust bearing system. Results are compared with experiment. It is shown that the first harmonic vibrational mode is well predicted. Changes in performance occurring from detail design alterations made to the thrust bearings are also shown to be sensibly predicted.

Finally extrapolations are made to units of 1 metre in length and performance predictions made. It is clearly shown that by an appropriate choice of bearing system the first natural frequency can be raised to well above that required for sensible centrifuge operation.

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