Long flexible shafts with bladed discs are a fundamental component of any gas turbine, and as such have been investigated in detail for many decades. With the emergence of the next generation of gas turbines, with shorter, stiffer shafts, and larger and more three-dimensional blades, current understanding of the underlying physical phenomena will need to be re-evaluated and where necessary extended. To support the ongoing research into blade-shaft coupling and cross-shaft coupling, a new rotor dynamic test facility has been developed over the last few years at Imperial College London, providing the ability to study the dynamic interaction of individual rotor components during synchronous and asynchronous excitation in a well-controlled environment.

The design and features of the test facility are discussed in detail, focusing on the novel features of the rig. Initial results for a bladed disc with staggered blades show the ability of the rig to operate under a wide range of conditions and highlight the good quality data that can be obtained.