Convergent-tapered annular seals: analysis and testing for rotordynamic coefficients. Academic Article uri icon


  • A combined analytical computational method is developed to calculate the pressure field and dynamic coefficients for tapered high pressure annular seals typical of neck ring and interstage seals employed in multistage centrifugal pumps. Completely developed turbulent flow is assumed in both the circumferential and axial directions and is modelled by Hirs' bulk flow turbulent lubrication equations. Linear zeroth and first order perturbation equations are developed for the momentum equations and continuity equations. The development of the circumferential velocity field is defined for the zeroth order circumferential momentum equation, and a leakage relationship is defined from the zeroth order axial momentum equation. A short bearing approximation is used to derive an analytical expression for the first order (dynamic) pressure gradient. This expression is integrated numerically to define dynamic coefficients for the seal. Numerical results are presented and compared to previous results for straight and tapered seals. The direct stiffness and leakage increase with increasing taper angle, while the remaining dynamic coefficients decrease. An optimal taper angle is shown to exist with respect to (a) the direct stiffness, and (b) the ratio of direct stiffness to leakage. Stiffness increases on the order of 40-50% are predicted. Experimental results are presented for seals with three taper angles which show generally good agreement between theory and prediction. (A)

author list (cited authors)

  • Childs, D. W., & Dressman, J. B.

publication date

  • January 1984