Measurements of Flow Rate and Force Coefficients in a Short-Length Annular Seal Supplied with a Liquid/Gas Mixture (Stationary Journal) Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016 Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers. Deep sea compression systems must work under strenuous conditions with either gas in liquid or liquid in gas mixtures, mostly inhomogeneous. Off-design operation affects the mechanical system's overall efficiency and reliability, with penalties in leakage and rotordynamic performance of secondary flow components, namely, seals. This article introduces a test rig to characterize the leakage and dynamic force coefficients of a short-length annular seal (L/D = 0.36, clearance = 0.127 mm) operating under various flow regimes ranging from pure gas, to bubbly (liquid in gas), to foamy (gas in liquid), to pure liquid. The test rig includes of rotating journal and a softy supported cartridge that make a clearance annular seal that is supplied with a liquid/gas mixture. Flowmeters record the fluid's passage, and with manual control of the streams, the mixture has a known liquid (or gas) volume fraction at the seal inlet plane. Two orthogonally mounted electromagnetic shakers excite the cartridge with periodic (single-frequency) forces spanning a wide frequency range. Eddy current sensors and accelerometers record the seal cartridge motions and a frequency domain parameter identification method delivers the seal dynamic force coefficients. For tests with a pressure supply/pressure discharge ratio = 3.0 and 3.5 and a nonrotating journal, the article reports the flow rate for an ISO VG10 oil in air mixture with liquid volume fraction (LVF) at the inlet plane increasing from pure gas to pure liquid. Wet seal stiffness and mass and damping force coefficients follow for a seal operating with a pressure supply/pressure discharge ratio = 2.0 and operating with air (only) and also with an oil-in-air mixture with inlet LVF = 2% and 4%. The experimental results, the first reported, reveal that a small amount of liquid increases the damping coefficients of the wet seal 10-fold (or more). Predictions from a computational bulk flow model also demonstrate that the seal damping coefficient varies greatly with small contents of liquid in the oil/gas mixture, although agreement with the experimental force coefficients is not compelling due to the likely inhomogeneity of the mixture flowing though the seal.

author list (cited authors)

  • San Andrés, L., Lu, X., & Liu, Q.

citation count

  • 10

publication date

  • June 2016