Sealing of the cavity formed between a stationary disk and a rotating disk under axisymmetric conditions is considered. A mathematical model of the flow in the cavity based on momentum integral methods is described and this is coupled to a simple model of the seal for the case when no ingress occurs. Predictions of the minimum imposed flow required to prevent ingress are obtained and shown to be in reasonable agreement with the data of Bayley and Owen (1970), Owen and Phadke (1980), Phadke (1982), and Phadke and Owen (1983a, 1983b, 1988). With an empirical constant in the model chosen to match these data, predictions for the minimum sealing flow are shown to be in good agreement with the measurements of Graber et al. (1987). The analysis of Phadke’s data also indicates the measurements for small seal clearances must be viewed with caution due to errors in setting the seal clearance. These errors are estimated to be twice the minimum clearance considered. Seal behavior when ingress occurs is also considered and estimates of the amount of ingress are made from the available data.

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