This paper deals with an analysis of turbulent flow in annular seals with rough surfaces. In this approach, our objectives are to develop a model of turbulence including surface roughness and to quantify the influence of surface roughness on turbulent flow. In this paper, in order to simplify the analysis, the inertial effects are neglected. These effects will be taken into account in a subsequent work. Consequently, this study is based on the solution of Reynolds equation. Turbulent flow is solved using Prandtl’s turbulent model with Van Driest’s mixing length expression. In Van Driest’s model, the mixing length depends on wall shear stress. However there are many numerical problems in evaluating this wall shear stress. Therefore, the goal of this work has been to use the local shear stress in the Van Driest’s model. This derived from the work of Elrod and Ng concerning Reichardt’s mixing length. The mixing length expression is then modified to introduce roughness effects. Then, the momentum equations are solved to evaluate the circumferential and axial velocity distributions as well as the turbulent viscosity μ1 (Boussinesq’s hypothesis) within the film. The coefficients of turbulence kx and kz, occurring in the generalized Reynolds’ equation, are then calculated as functions of the flow parameters. Reynolds’ equation is solved by using a finite centered difference method. Dynamic characteristics are calculated by exciting the system numerically, with displacement and velocity perturbations. The model of Van Driest using local shear stress and function of roughness has been compared (for smooth seals) to the Elrod and Ng theory. Some numerical results of the static and dynamic characteristics of a rough seal (with the same roughness on the rotor as on the stator) are presented. These results show the influence of roughness on the dynamic behavior of the shaft.

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