Mechanical seals are commonly used in industrial applications. The main purpose of these components is to ensure the sealing of rotating shafts. Their optimal point of operation is obtained at the boundary between the mixed and hydrodynamic lubrication regimes. However, papers focused on this particular aspect in face seals are rather scarce compared with those dealing with other popular sealing devices. The present study thus proposes a numerical flow model of mixed lubrication in mechanical face seals. It achieves this by evaluating the influence of roughness on the performance of the seal. The choice of a deterministic approach has been made, this being justified by a review of the literature. A numerical model for the generation of random rough surfaces has been used prior to the flow model in order to give an accurate description of the surface roughness. The model takes cavitation effects into account and considers Hertzian asperity contact. Results for the model, including Stribeck curves, are presented as a function of the duty parameter.

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