A Fresh Look at Containment Seals and Equipment
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The need for reliable and safe sealing of rotating equipment remains as a primary concern for industry. In situations where single mechanical seals were used the introduction of environmental and safety legislation brought about the introduction of containment sealing arrangements to control and minimise the likelihood of process fluids reaching the atmosphere. While in principle this would seem to be an ideal solution the reality is that containment seal philosophy is not readily understood and there have been notable incidents where containment seals have not performed as expected when process upsets have occurred. Given that there is a wide choice of containment technology available dictates that different seal designs and systems plus wet and dry sealing philosophies all contribute to the confusion surrounding the application of safe and effective containment sealing. This tutorial looks at how containment seals have been applied historically and the issues that have surrounded the technology thereby questioning proper application and usage. The philosophy of dry containment seals is explained where both contacting and noncontacting containment seal options are discussed along with the associated sealing system requirements for each preference. It explains the need for introducing in-situ periodic test procedures such that containment seal functionality is not impaired during service. Finally some guidance is offered so that containment seals can be assessed and selected such that optimum performance can be assured.
Carmody, Christopher; Smith, Richard (2018). A Fresh Look at Containment Seals and Equipment. Turbomachinery Laboratory, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. Available electronically from