Hydrodynamic non-contacting face seals, characterized with small leakage and long life, have been used in almost every sector of industrial pump applications. However, its application to aerospace has been proven challenging mainly owing to the high-speed, large size and vastly varied operating conditions in an engine environment. Design optimization is critical for a successful application in aero-engine. Seals designed with optimized hydrodynamic grooves based on a 2D code have been qualified for production. For certain seal applications, the optimized hydrodynamic grooves can be very different from what is usually used in aerospace applications. In order to verify such extreme design and confirm the optimization procedure, a three-dimensional CFD model was developed. The influences of hydrodynamic features were studied with the 3D CFD model and compared with the solution of the two-dimensional design code. The 3D computation generally supports the 2D result, and the seal design was further validated through rig tests.

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