The dynamic behavior of a noncontacting coned face seal is analyzed for the case of a rigidly mounted rotating seat and a flexibly mounted stationary ring taking into account various design parameters and operating conditions. The primary seal ring motion is expressed by a set of nonlinear equations for three degrees of freedom. These equations, which are solved numerically, allow identification of two dimensionless groups of parameters that affect the seal dynamic behavior. Stability maps for various seals are presented. These maps contain a stable-to-unstable transition region in which the ring wobbles at half the shaft frequency. The effect of various parameters on seal stability is discussed and an approximate expression for critical stability is offered. The theoretical model assumes frictionless flexible mounting of the seal ring such as in metal bellows. However, the results for critical stability can also be used as an upper limit for cases when friction in the secondary seal is present.

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