Research Papers

Development of a Noncontacting Mechanical Seal for High Performance Turbocharger Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel A. Nelson

Senior R&D Engineer,
Advanced Technology, Seals,
Flowserve Corporation,
Temecula, CA 92590
e-mail: dnelson@flowserve.com

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received July 6, 2018; final manuscript received July 31, 2018; published online October 4, 2018. Editor: Jerzy T. Sawicki.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 141(3), 031008 (Oct 04, 2018) (7 pages) Paper No: GTP-18-1457; doi: 10.1115/1.4041244 History: Received July 06, 2018; Revised July 31, 2018

This paper presents the design and development of a noncontacting dry-gas mechanical seal for high performance automotive turbocharger applications. Turbochargers are increasingly being incorporated into high performance automobile engines to improve fuel efficiency, enhance energy recovery, and increase horsepower as compared with similar sized naturally aspirated engines. Minimizing the wear rate of tribological surfaces in the turbomachinery is critical to maximizing the reliability and durability of the turbocharger. A dry-gas seal for turbochargers and related technologies with 2–4 cm shafts has been developed. The seal provides a complete barrier between the bearing oil and compressor flow path and is capable of reverse pressure and high speed. The seal performance was evaluated for speeds between 60,000 and 80,000 rpm, pressure differentials between −0.8 (reverse pressure) to 6 bar, and temperatures between 20 and 200 °C. Structural and thermal response of the seal components to the operating conditions are analyzed using finite element methods and the tribological behavior of the seal rings are analyzed using computational fluid dynamics. The design is experimentally validated in a seal test stand. This novel approach reduces turbocharger blowby and shows no measurable wear when compared with piston ring seals.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Feneley, A. J. , Pesiridis, A. , and Andwari, A. M. , 2017, “ Variable Geometry Turbocharger Technologies for Exhaust Energy Recovery and Boosting—A Review,” Renewable Sustainable Energy Rev., 71, pp. 959–975. [CrossRef]
Schnorpfeil, S.-J. , Pischinger, S. , Adomeit, P. , and Bowyer, S. , 2013, “ Potentials of Variable Compressor Pre Swirl Devices in Consideration of Different Sealing Concepts,” SAE Technical Paper No. 2013-01-0934.
Yang, M. , Zheng, X. , Zhang, Y. , Bamba, T. , Tamaki, H. , Huenteler, J. , and Li, Z. , 2013, “ Stability Improvement of High-Pressure-Ratio Turbocharger Centrifugal Compressor by Asymmetric Flow Control—Part I: Non-Axisymmetrical Flow in Centrifugal Compressor,” ASME J. Turbomach., 135(2), p. 021006. [CrossRef]
Zheng, X. , Zhang, Y. , Yang, M. , Bamba, T. , and Tamaki, H. , 2013, “ Stability Improvement of High-Pressure-Ratio Turbocharger Centrifugal Compressor by Asymmetrical Flow Control—Part II: Nonaxisymmetrical Self-Recirculation Casing Treatment,” ASME J. Turbomach., 135(2), p. 021007. [CrossRef]
Kirk, R. , Alsaeed, A. , and Gunter, E. , 2006, “ Stability Analysis of a High Speed Automotive Turbocharger,” ASME Paper No. IJTC2006-12036.
Plaksin, A. , Gritsenko, A. , and Glemba, K. , 2015, “ Modernization of the Turbocharger Lubrication System of an Internal Combustion Engine,” Procedia Eng., 129, pp. 857–862. [CrossRef]
Watson, N. , and Janota, M. S. , 1982, Turbocharging the Internal Combustion Engine, Springer, Berlin, Germany.
Buchter, H. H. , 1979, Industrial Sealing Technology, Wiley, New York.
Simon, C. , Lang, K. , Feigl, P. , and Bock, E. , 2010, “ Turbocharger Seal for Zero Oil Consumption and Minimised Blow-By,” MTZ Worldwide, 71(4), pp. 36–41. [CrossRef]
Simon, C. , Lang, K. , Feigl, P. , and Bock, E. , 2011, “ Turbocharger Seal as a Decisive Enabler for Downsizing Concepts,” Sealing Technol., 2011(1), pp. 10–11. [CrossRef]
Lebeck, A. O. , 1991, Principles and Design of Mechanical Face Seals, Wiley, New York.
Moran, E. F. , 1981, “ Considerations of Secondary Seal Balance in Mechanical Seal Design,” Lubr. Eng., 37, pp. 38–41.
Datta, A. , Gardner, J. F. , Derby, J. U. , and Casucci, D. P. , 1988, “ Metal Bellows Mechanical Face Seals for High Performance Pump Applications,” Fifth International Pump Users Symposium, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.
Becker, K. M. , 1963, “ Measurements of Convective Heat Transfer From a Horizontal Cylinder Rotating in a Tank of Water,” Int. J. Heat Mass Transfer, 6(12), pp. 1053–1062. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Schematic of a typical turbocharger with locations of the seals and bearings

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Photograph of the rotating ring with laser machined microfeatures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Schematic of the mechanical seal layout within the turbocharger (a) and a basic piston ring-style labyrinth seal(b)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Schematic of the setup for the bellows FEA. The bellows are first compressed to installed working length; then a pressure load is applied to the inside surfaces.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Schematic of the seal face analysis setup, with the mechanical loads depicted

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Setup of the high speed seal test stand

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Predicted leakage as a function of pressure for 60,000, 90,000, and 120,000 rpm

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Temperature profile and deflection (exaggerated 100 times) of seal rings at reverse pressure conditions (0.2 bar of pressure at 60,000 rpm and 200 °C)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Temperature profile and deflection (exaggerated 100 times) of seal rings at maximum conditions (6 bar of pressure at 120,000 rpm and 200 °C)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Local safety factor of the bellow assembly without the face under 6 bar of pressure. The minimum safety factor is approximately 2.08. Note the stress concentration near the outer diameter welds results in the lowest safety factor.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Balance shift computed with FEA for different core designs. Three diaphragm thicknesses were evaluated.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Comparison of the primary seal ring face condition before testing (left) and after testing (right)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 13

Comparison of leakage between the numerical prediction and the seal test results

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 14

Comparison of leakage between the gas seal and the piston ring (PR) for different operating conditions. Hot designates tests at 200 °C and cold designates tests at ambient temperature (approximately 20 °C).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 15

Test face temperature and measured leakage over three periods of the transient vacuum cycle test. The time in which the vacuum is activated is highlighted in gray. Temperature is shown by the dashed line, while leakage is shown by the solid line.



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In