The effects of two seal design parameters, namely blade (tooth) thickness and blade profile, on labyrinth seal leakage, as well as the effect of operating a seal in an off-center position, were examined through a series of non-rotating tests. Two reconfigurable seal designs were used, which enabled testing of two- four-, and six-bladed see-through labyrinth seals with different geometries using the same sets of seal blades. Leakage and cavity pressure measurements were made on each of twenty-three seal configurations with a four inch (101.6 mm) diameter journal. Tests were carried out with air as the working fluid at supply pressures of up to 100 psi-a (6.89 bar-a). Experimental results showed that doubling the thickness of the labyrinth blades significantly influenced leakage, reducing the flow-rate through the seals by up to 20%. Tests to determine the effect of blade-tip profile produced more equivocal results, with the results of experiments using each of the two test seal designs contradicting each other. Tests on one set of hardware indicated that beveling blades on the downstream side was most effective in limiting leakage whereas tests on newer hardware with tighter clearances indicated that seals with flat-tipped blades were superior. The test results illustrated that both blade profile and blade thickness could be manipulated so as to reduce seal leakage. However, an examination of the effects of both factors together indicated that the influence of one of these parameters can, to some extent, negate the influence of the other (especially in cases with tighter clearances). Lastly, for all configurations tested, results showed that leakage through a seal increases with increased eccentricity and that this phenomenon was considerably more pronounced at lower supply pressures.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.