June 2018

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Engineering Case Histories: Case 101: Preventing crankshaft failures in large reciprocating engines

The gas processing and pipeline industries use many integral gas engine reciprocating compressors with crankshafts more than 20 ft long.

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

The gas processing and pipeline industries use many integral gas engine reciprocating compressors with crankshafts more than 20 ft long. Foundation and bearing damage are always of concern, as either can cause the crankshaft to flex excessively, which could cause a catastrophic fatigue fracture. Fig. 1 illustrates this exaggerated situation on a single-throw crankshaft. The overlap zone shown through the web is typically where fatigue failures occur. In this model, all web deflection is assumed to occur in the overlap zone. FIG. 1. Distortion of a crankshaft throw. Web measurements indicate when the center line of a crankshaft statically deflec

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