In hydropower generators, the measurement of bearing load, vibration and shaft displacement are wildly used methods for indication of maintenance demand and troubleshooting. When measurement of bearing load and shaft displacement is performed the collected data make it possible to determine the bearing properties, such as stiffness and damping. In this paper a method to determine the bearing stiffness and damping properties for generator journal bearing in hydropower units is presented. The majority of hydropower generators are, however, not equipped with facilities for measurements of bearing loads. To provide the bearings with load sensors it is necessary to reconstruct the bearings, which is associated with heavy expenditures. In this paper an alternative method to obtain the bearing load is utilize, in which strain gauges installed on the generator bearing brackets is used. The collected data in the experiment were obtained from measurements on a 238 MW hydropower generator connected to a Francis type runner. The bracket that holds the generator bearing consists of 18 spokes and each of these spokes has been provided with strain gauges for load measurements. The displacement of the shaft has been measured relative to the generator-bearing casing. The generator-bearing model has been described as a system with two degrees of freedom containing both bearing stiffness and damping matrix as well as displacement and displacement velocity vector. When the calculation of the bearing properties are based on measured data, the irregularity in the calculated stiffness and damping has to be eliminated. To eliminate the unrealistic values of the calculated damping and stiffness, the samples that cause high condition numbers of the displacement–velocity matrix are neglected. The results of the calculation of bearing stiffness and damping are presented in polar plots. This method determines the bearing properties for the generator bearing in a certain point, the point where the generator shaft has its stationary position. The stationary position for the generator shaft depends on the static magnetic pull force acting on the generator rotor and the influence from the turbine. The influence on the bearing characteristics of nonstationary loads as acting on the bearing can be investigated. The non-stationary loads can for instance be rotor unbalance force, influence of thermal expansion and dynamical magnetic pull force. It is thereby possible to evaluate different loads effect on the generator bearing and in which way the bearing properties are affected.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.