A Study on the Leakage and Rotordynamic Performance of a Long Labyrinth Seal Under Mainly Air Conditions Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract This paper investigates the impact of liquid presence in air on the leakage and rotordynamic coefficients of a long (length-to-diameter ratio L/D = 0.747) teeth-on-stator labyrinth seal. The test fluid is a mixture of air and silicone oil (PSF-5cSt). Tests are carried out at inlet pressure Pi = 62.1 bars, three pressure ratios from 0.21 to 0.46, three speeds from 10 to 20 krpm, and six inlet liquid volume fractions (LVFs) from 0% to 15%. Complex dynamic-stiffness coefficients Hij are measured. The real parts of Hij are too frequency dependent to be fitted by frequency-independent stiffness and virtual-mass coefficients. Therefore, this paper presents frequency-dependent direct stiffness KΩ and cross-coupled stiffness kΩ. The imaginary parts of Hij produce frequency-independent direct damping C. Test results show that, under both pure- and mainly air conditions, the leakage mass flowrate m˙ of the test seal steadily increases as inlet LVF increases. KΩ is negative under all test conditions, and the magnitude of KΩ increases as inlet LVF increases, leading to a larger negative centering force on the associated compressor rotor. Under pure-air conditions, kΩ is a small negative value. Injecting oil into the air increases kΩ slightly and make the magnitude of kΩ closer to zero. Under mainly air conditions, increasing inlet LVF from 2% to 15% has little impact on kΩ. C normally increases as inlet LVF increases. The value of the effective damping Ceff = C − kΩ/Ω near 0.5ω is of significant interest to the system stability since an unstable centrifugal compressor may precess at approximately 0.5ω. Ω denotes the excitation frequency. The oil presence in the air has little impact on the value of Ceff near 0.5ω. Also, the liquid presence does not change the insensitiveness of m˙, KΩ, kΩ, C, and Ceff to change in ω; i.e., under both pure- and mainly air conditions, changes in ω has little impact on m˙, KΩ, kΩ, C, and Ceff.

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, M., & Childs, D. W.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • November 2019