Axial and torsional self-excited vibrations of a distributed drill-string

Ulf Jakob F. Aarsnes*, Nathan van de Wouw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


We consider a distributed axial-torsional drill-string model with a rate-independent bit-rock interaction law to study the occurrence and non-local characteristics of axial and torsional self-excited vibrations as caused by the regenerative effect. A first contribution of the paper is the derivation of a non-dimensional version of the full non-linear distributed drill-string–bit-rock interaction model and showing how it relates to the minimal set of characteristic quantities. Using this model the study shows how multiple axial modes of the drill-string are excited, or attenuated, depending on the bit rotation rate. This indicates that a lumped drill-string model approximation is insufficient for the general case. Then, a comprehensive simulation study is performed to create a stability map for the occurrence of stick-slip oscillations. In particular, the significance of the axial topside boundary condition, i.e., constant velocity vs. constant hook-load, is evaluated. A central finding is that increasing the axial loop gain (determined by the bit-rock parameters) tends to both increase the area of stable torsional dynamics and increase the rate of penetration for a constant imposed weight on bit. This also corresponds to a more severe axial instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-151
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Distributed parameter systems
  • Drill-string vibrations
  • Hyperbolic systems
  • Infinite dimensional systems
  • Stability
  • Stick-slip


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