Investigation of hydrostatic fluid forces in varying clearance turbomachinery seals

[+] Author and Article Information
Stacie Tibos

GE Power, Newbold Road, CV21 2NH, United Kingdom

Christos Georgakis

GE Power, Newbold Road, CV21 2NH, United Kingdom

Joao A. Teixeira

Cranfield University, MK43 0AL, United Kingdom

Simon Hogg

Durham University, Stockton Road, DH1 3LE, United Kingdom

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4038136 History: Received December 08, 2016; Revised August 12, 2017


Varying clearance, rotor-following seals are a key technology for meeting the demands of increased machine flexibility for conventional power units. These seals follow the rotor through hydrodynamic or hydrostatic mechanisms. Forward facing step (FFS) and Rayleigh step designs are known to produce positive fluid stiffness. However, there is very limited modelling or experimental data available on the hydrostatic fluid forces generated from either design. A quasi-1D method has been developed to describe both designs and validated using test data. Tests have shown that the FFS and the Rayleigh step design are both capable of producing positive film stiffness and there is little difference in hydrostatic force generation between the two designs. This means any additional hydrodynamic features in the Rayleigh step design should have a limited effect on hydrostatic fluid stiffness. The analytical model is capable of modelling both the inertial fluid forces as well as the viscous fluid losses and the predictions are in good agreement with the test data.

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