The objective of this study is to develop a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) based methodology for analyzing and predicting leakage of worn or rub-intended labyrinth seals during operation. The simulations include intended tooth axial offset and numerical modeling of the flow field. The purpose is to predict total leakage through the seal when an axial tooth offset is provided after the intended/unintended rub.
Results indicate that as expected, the leakage for the in-line worn land case (i.e. tooth under rub) is higher compared to unworn. Furthermore, the intended rotor/teeth forward axial offset/shift with respect to the rubbed land reduces the seal leakage. The overall leakage of a rubbed seal with axial tooth offset is observed to be considerably reduced, and it can become even less than a small clearance seal designed not to rub. The reduced leakage during steady state is due to a targeted smaller running gap because of tooth offset under the intended/worn land groove shape, higher blockages, higher turbulence and flow deflection as compared to worn seal model without axial tooth offset.