Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Structures and Dynamics

Numerical Modeling of Fluid-Induced Rotordynamic Forces in Seals With Large Aspect Ratios

[+] Author and Article Information
Alexandrina Untaroiu

e-mail: au6d@virginia.edu

Paul E. Allaire

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering,
Rotating Machinery and Controls
(ROMAC) Laboratories,
University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA 22904

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the International Gas Turbine Institute (IGTI) of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received June 25, 2012; final manuscript received July 6, 2012; published online November 21, 2012. Editor: Dilip R. Ballal.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 135(1), 012501 (Nov 21, 2012) (7 pages) Paper No: GTP-12-1218; doi: 10.1115/1.4007341 History: Received June 25, 2012; Revised July 06, 2012

Traditional annular seal models are based on bulk flow theory. While these methods are computationally efficient and can predict dynamic properties fairly well for short seals, they lack accuracy in cases of seals with complex geometry or with large aspect ratios (above 1.0). In this paper, the linearized rotordynamic coefficients for a seal with a large aspect ratio are calculated by means of a three-dimensional CFD analysis performed to predict the fluid-induced forces acting on the rotor. For comparison, the dynamic coefficients were also calculated using two other codes: one developed on the bulk flow method and one based on finite difference method. These two sets of dynamic coefficients were compared with those obtained from CFD. Results show a reasonable correlation for the direct stiffness estimates, with largest value predicted by CFD. In terms of cross-coupled stiffness, which is known to be directly related to cross-coupled forces that contribute to rotor instability, the CFD also predicts the highest value; however, a much larger discrepancy can be observed for this term (73% higher than the value predicted by the finite difference method and 79% higher than the bulk flow code prediction). One can see similar large differences in predictions in the estimates for damping and direct mass coefficients, where the highest values are predicted by the bulk flow method. These large variations in damping and mass coefficients, and most importantly the large difference in the cross-coupled stiffness predictions, may be attributed to the large difference in seal geometry (i.e., the large aspect ratio AR > 1.0 of this seal model versus the short seal configuration the bulk flow code is usually calibrated for using an empirical friction factor).

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Fig. 1

(a) 2D sketch of balance drum leakage flow path including the upstream region; (b) and (c) detail view (c = 0.305 mm, Saxial = 9.95 mm, h = 7.75 mm, Di = 367 mm, Dc = 176 mm)

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Fig. 2

Forces exerted on the whirling rotor in relative coordinate system

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Fig. 3

Balance drum CFD model and detail view of surface mesh

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Fig. 4

Contour plot of static pressure on (a) rotor and (b) stator surface

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Fig. 5

Contour plot on axial cutplane (a) pressure and (b) velocity distribution

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Fig. 6

Variation of (a) average pressure and (b) average fluid velocity function of axial location in the seal

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Fig. 7

Variation of fluid force components (estimated from CFD results for pressure distributions) normalized by eccentricity of rotor as function of assumed whirl speeds



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