Test results are presented for the rotordynamic coefficients of a hole-pattern annular gas seal at supply pressures to 84 bar and running speeds to 20200 rpm. The principal test variable of interest was negative preswirl. Preswirl signifies the circumferential fluid flow entering a seal and negative preswirl indicates a fluid swirl in a direction opposite to rotor rotation. The influences of the pressure ratio and rotor speed were also investigated. The measured results produce direct and cross-coupled stiffness and damping coefficients that are a function of the excitation frequency Ω. Changes in the pressure ratio had only small effects on most rotordynamic coefficients. Cross-coupled stiffness showed slightly different profiles through the midrange of Ω values. Increasing rotor speed significantly increased the cross-coupled stiffness and cross-coupled damping. At 10,200 RPM, high negative inlet preswirl produced negative cross-coupled stiffness over an excitation frequency range of 200–250 Hz. Negative preswirl did not affect the direct stiffness and damping coefficients. Effective damping combines the stabilizing effect of direct damping and the destabilizing effect of cross-coupled stiffness. The crossover frequency is the precession frequency where effective damping transitions from a negative value to a positive value with increasing frequency. At 20,200 rpm with a pressure ratio of 50%, the peak effective damping was increased by 50%, and the crossover frequency was reduced by 50% for high-negative preswirl versus zero preswirl. Hence, reverse swirl can greatly enhance the stabilizing capacity of a hole-pattern balance-piston or division-wall seals for compressors. A two-control-volume model that uses the ideal gas law at constant temperature was used to predict rotordynamic coefficients. The model predicted direct rotordynamic coefficients well, however, substantially under-predicted cross-coupled rotordynamic coefficients, especially at high negative preswirls.

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