Numerical Simulation of the Flow Field in 3D Eccentric Annular and 2D Centered Labyrinth Seals for Comparison with Experimental LDA Data
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The flow field in an annular seal is simulated for synchronous circular whirl orbits with 60Hz whirl frequency and a clearance/radius ratio of 0.0154 using the Fluent Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code. Fluent's Moving Reference Frame model (MRF) is used to render the flow quasi-steady by making transformations to a rotating frame. The computed flow fields for velocity, pressure and shear stress measurements are compared with the experimental data of Winslow, Thames and Cusano. The CFD predictions are found to be in good agreement with the experimental results. The present CFD methodology can be extended to other whirl frequencies and clearances. The dynamic wall pressure distributions in an annular seal for non-circular whirl orbits were obtained using CFD. The simulations were performed using a time dependant solver utilizing Fluent's Dynamic Mesh model and User Defined Functions (UDFs). The wall pressure distributions obtained from the simulations are compared with data of Cusano. The CFD simulations over predicted the pressure field when compared to experimental results however the general trends in pressure contours are similar. The flow fields for varying rotor eccentricities are also studied by performing coordinate transformations and rendering the flow quasi-steady at set eccentricities using Fluent's MRF model. The computed velocity and pressure fields are compared with the time dependant solution obtained using Fluent's Dynamic Mesh model and UDFs for the same eccentricity. Good agreement in the velocity fields is obtained; however the pressure fields require further investigation. 2D Labyrinth seal simulations were performed for comparisons with experimental LDA data from Johnson. The velocity fields match the experimental LDA data to a fair degree of extent; however, Fluent simulations under predicted the secondary recirculation zones in Labyrinth Backward Swirl (LBS) case.
Vijaykumar, Anand (2010). Numerical Simulation of the Flow Field in 3D Eccentric Annular and 2D Centered Labyrinth Seals for Comparison with Experimental LDA Data. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from