Labyrinth Seal Leakage Analysis
MetadataShow full item record
Annular seals are devices used in turbomachinery to avoid flow losses which reduce efficiency. The dynamic stability of the machine is also improved by the seal. Thus, it is an important subject to understand the flow behavior through the seal. Straight through triangular labyrinth seals are one of the most commonly used types of non-contacting annular seals. The energy dissipation through these seals is achieved by a series of teeth and cavities. As the flow passes above each tooth, a portion of its pressure energy is converted into kinetic energy. A portion of this kinetic energy is dissipated through turbulence-viscosity interaction in the cavity that follows. Moreover, some portion of the pressure energy is also lost through viscosity of the fluid. This research aims to understand the effects of flow parameters and seal geometry on these losses. This will make it possible to estimate the mass flow leakage through the seal. ANSYS Fluent is used to simulate the flow through the seal. The effect of seal geometry is studied by varying clearance, pitch, tooth height, tooth width and upstream side angle. It was found that, amongst other geometrical parameters, tooth clearance and pitch has a strong influence on carryover coefficient. Smaller values of c/s have better kinetic energy dissipation in the cavity. Carryover coefficient is also found to be a function of the Reynolds number and shaft speed. Discharge coefficient of the seal presents the overall efficiency while carryover coefficient only shows the cavity performance. Discharge coefficient is also found to be a strong function of tooth clearance, pitch, Reynolds number and shaft speed. Remaining parameters have smaller effects. It was observed that the discharge coefficient of first tooth is always lower than those of intermediate teeth. The compressibility effects are presented by using an expansion factor which is the ratio of compressible flow discharge coefficient to incompressible flow discharge coefficient. It was found that the expansion factor is fairly independent of geometrical parameters but a strong function of flow parameters. Considering the effects of seal geometry and flow parameters on carryover coefficient, discharge coefficient and expansion factor, the seal geometry is optimized to increase the kinetic energy dissipation and pressure head loss which in turn will reduce the mass flow leakage.
Inam, Orcun (2011). Labyrinth Seal Leakage Analysis. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from