During fault conditions, rotor displacements in magnetic bearing systems may potentially exceed safety/operating limits. Hence it is a common design feature to incorporate auxiliary bearings adjacent to the magnetic bearings for the prevention of rotor/stator contact. During fault conditions the rotor may come into contact with the auxiliary bearings, which may lead to continuous rub type orbit responses. In particular, forward rub responses may become persistent. This paper advances the methodology by considering an actively controlled auxiliary bearing system. An open-loop control strategy is adopted to provide auxiliary bearing displacements that destabilize established forward rub orbit responses. A theoretical approach is undertaken to identify auxiliary bearing motion limits at which forward rub responses become unstable. Experimental validation is then undertaken using a rotor/active magnetic bearing system with an actively controlled auxiliary bearing system under piezoelectric actuation. Two different operating speeds below the first bending mode of the rotor are considered and the applied harmonic displacements of the auxiliary bearing are shown to be effective in restoring contact free levitation.

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