Theory versus experiment for the rotordynamic coefficients of an interlocking labyrinth gas seal Conference Paper uri icon


  • Experimental results for the rotordynamic coefficients of an interlocking, compressible flow, labyrinth seal are presented. Tests were conducted at supply pressures out to 18.3 bars and rotor speeds out to 16,000 rpm. Seal back pressure was controlled to provide four pressure ratios at all supply pressures. Inlet guide vanes were used to provide fluid prerotation at the seal inlet. The experimental results are compared to the predictions of the bulk-flow, turbulent, one-control-volume, perturbation analysis of Scharrer (1988). The results show that the direct stiffness is negative but small, and is predicted well by theory. At high rotor speeds, the experimental cross-coupled stiffness is negative (stabilizing for forward whirl) for all values of fluid prerotation. Theory predicts positive (destabilizing for forward whirl) cross-coupled stiffness for high fluid prerotation, and overpredicts the direct damping of the seal. In general, the net stabilizing effect of the seal, as indicated by the whirl frequency ratio, is predicted well.

author list (cited authors)

  • Elrod, D. A., Pelletti, J. M., & Childs, D. W.

publication date

  • January 1995