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1.

Turbine shaft material has its own natural frequency, when turbine rotates on such a
speed that frequency of shaft become close to its natural frequency, machine causes
noise & high vibrations because of resonance due to matching of frequency. Running of
Steam "TURBINE" on this speed is avoided & this is called Critical speed. A turbine
may have more then one critical speed, which may depend upon number of couplings.
A second critical speed is when the Turbine blade tips approach the speed of sound. This
effectively limits the speed of a turbine and explains why power plants tend to have
turbines of the same capacity.
Critical speed of the turbine is the rotor speed at which natural frequency of the
assembled rotor (rotor shaft with discs, blades, shrouding strips etc in assembled
condition) becomes equal to the operating speed. This is usually a expressed as a range
(critical speed range).
There are multiple critical speeds. However, the operating speed of the turbine may be
above or below the first / lowest critical speed. Accordingly it is called as a flexible or a
rigid rotor

2.ANSWERS
The critical rpm is not of turbine(as a unit) but its if the dominant force i.e. rotor.
Every rotor has many modes of vibration
1st , 2nd, 3rd
and when any mode of vibration/frequency/rpm coincide with the natural mode of
frequency of the rotor, the resultant force creates a unbalance of infinite amplitude
(theoretically) it would cause critical/high level of vibration.
Usually rotor operates between 2nd and 3rd critical speed and during start up(as you
cross that particular rpm) the rotor is accelerated at a ramp rate of 30-40rpm/sec to cross
over that zone quickly.