The characteristics of mechanical face seals operating with hydrodynamic films were studied experimentally and analytically. Experimental and theoretical results are given showing the effects of gas cavities in the film and inward pumping. Photographs taken through the transparent test seal show the characteristics of the gas cavities. Experimental results are also given for the two fluid case, i.e., where the seal separates two different fluids; and for the case where inertia effects are important.

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