, Volume 52, Issue 11–12, pp 2945–2957 | Cite as

Drillstring-borehole interaction: backward whirl instabilities and axial loading

  • K. Vijayan
  • N. Vlajic
  • M. I. Friswell


A major concern within the oil drilling industry remains the interaction between the drillstring and borehole. The interaction between the drillstring and borehole wall involves nonlinearities in the form of friction and contact. The drillstring borehole interaction induces whirling behaviour of the drillstring causing forward whirl, backward whirl or intermittent bouncing behaviour depending on the system parameters. The purpose of this study is to analyse the steady backward whirl behaviour within the system which reduces the fatigue life of the drillstring. Initially a two discs model was developed to analyse the behaviour of the system. The theoretical model was tuned by altering the phase of the eccentric mass. This excites each lateral modes of the system in isolation. The effects of impact, friction and mass unbalance are included in the model. For the tuned system the backward whirl behaviour was analysed by carrying out a rotor speed sweep spanning the lateral natural frequencies. The influence of rotor speed on the system dynamics is explored using a run up and run down and is analysed using a waterfall plot. The waterfall plot indicated the frequency of maximum response corresponding to each rotor speed. Depending on the whirling behaviour the dominant frequency was observed at the lateral natural frequency, the rotational speed or the backward whirl frequency. The influence of variation in whirling behaviour due to altering of the axial load was analysed for a multiple disc case consisting of five discs. A transition in behaviour along the length of the drillstring was observed due to the axial load and bending moment interactions. Depending on the mode excited impact and sustained contact initiation with the borehole varied across the different stabilizer locations.


Rotor dynamics Drillstring Backward whirl 



The authors acknowledge the support of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


This study was funded by Grant No. EP/K003836 (Engineering Nonlinearity).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The work was carried out while the first author was employed as a Post Doctoral researcher at Swansea university. Second author was a researcher under the same grant at University of Bristol. Third Author is one of the investigators of the Research Grant EP/K003836.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ocean engineering and Naval architectureIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Engineering MathematicsUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.College of EngineeringSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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