Rotordynamic-Coefficients and Static (Equilibrium Loci and Leakage) Characteristics for Short, Laminar-flow Annular Seals Academic Article uri icon


  • Test results are presented for laminar-flow seals that are representative of buffered-flow oil seals in centrifugal compressors. The seals are short (L/D ≅ 0.21), with a diameter of 117 mm and a clearance-to-radius ratio 0.0007. A smooth seal, a seal with one central groove, and a seal with three grooves were tested. Groove geometries employed are representative of industrial practice for compressors with a groove-depth to clearance ratio on the order of 6. Tests were conducted at 4000, 7000, and 10,000 rpm shaft speed with delta pressures across the seals of 21, 45, and 69 bars. For all cases, the flow was laminar. The seals were tested from a centered position out to an eccentricity ratio of 0.7. Static data included leakage and equilibrium loci for a range of loads. Direct and cross-coupled stiffness and damping coefficients and direct mass coefficients were determined from dynamic tests. For the smooth seal, comparisons between measurements and predictions were reasonable for the direct and cross-coupled stiffness and damping coefficients; however measured added mass coefficients were roughly ten times larger than predicted. Predictions for the grooved seals from a "deep-groove" model that assumed zero pressure oscillations in the grooves greatly over predicted the influence of the grooves. In a centered position, smooth and grooved seals had comparable leakage performance. At higher eccentricity ratios, the grooved seals leaked modestly more. For eccentricity ratios less than approximately 0.3, the grooved seals and the smooth seal had qualitatively similar static and dynamic characteristics. In terms of cross-coupled stiffness coefficients, the grooved seals were less stable than the smooth seal at eccentricity ratios greater than approximately 0.5 but had significantly lower cross-coupled coefficients at reduced eccentricity ratios between zero and 0.3. A grooved centered seal is more stable than a smooth centered seal. The smooth seal had higher damping than the grooved seals and had moderately better centering capabilities. Copyright © 2006 by ASME.

author list (cited authors)

  • Childs, D. W., Rodriguez, L. E., Cullotta, V., Al-Ghasem, A., & Graviss, M.

citation count

  • 10

publication date

  • September 2005