Full three-dimensional CFD simulations are carried out using ANSYS CFX to obtain the detailed flow field and to estimate the rotordynamic coefficients of a labyrinth seal for various inlet swirl ratios.
Flow fields in the labyrinth seal with the eccentricity of the rotor are observed in detail and the detailed mechanisms that increase the destabilizing forces at high inlet swirl ratios are discussed based on the fluid governing equations associated with the flow fields. By evaluating the contributions from each term of the governing equation to cross coupled force, it is found that circumferential velocity and circumferential distribution of axial mass flow rate play key roles in generating cross coupled forces. In the case that circumferential velocity is high and decreases along the axial direction, all contributions from each term are positive cross coupled force. On the other hand, in the case that circumferential velocity is low and increases along the axial direction, one contribution is positive but the other is negative. Therefore, cross coupled force can be negative in the local chamber depending on the balance even if circumferential velocity is positive.
CFD predictions of cross coupled stiffness coefficients and direct damping coefficients show better agreement with experimental results than a bulk flow model does by considering the force on the rotor in the inlet region. Cross coupled stiffness coefficients derived from the force on the rotor in the seal section agree well with those of the bulk flow model.