Reciprocating rod seals play an important role in the aviation hydraulic system. As a new type of the aerospace reciprocating seal, VL seal is gradually used in crucial and complicated working conditions. When the seal is installed in the groove, there is large deformation in the circumferential direction, which would cause the deviation while the traditional axisymmetric 2D model is used for analyzing its performance. Therefore the new 3D finite element model is developed in this paper to obtain more accurate results of the contact pressure and the stress of the VL seal. Furthermore a mixed lubrication model combined with the 3D model is implemented to obtain the friction and leakage characteristics of the VL seal, which is composed of the fluid lubrication model, the micro contact model and the deformation model. The performance of the seal in the outstroke and instroke is studied respectively and the effects of different working velocities on the seal are also discussed. The analysis results show that the 3D model can demonstrates more comprehensive performance than the traditional axisymmetric model when there is a tangential strain in the VL seal.

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