Since the 80s, academic research in the rotordynamics field has developed mathematical treatment for the prediction of the dynamic coefficients of sealing components. Dealing with the straight-through labyrinth seal, Iwatsubo , at a first stage, and Childs , later on, have developed the one-control volume bulk flow model. The model allows evaluating the surrounding fluid forces acting on the rotor, analyzing the fluid dynamics within the seal: the continuity, circumferential momentum and energy equations are solved for each cavity. To consider axial fluid dynamics, correlations, aiming to estimate the leakage and the pressure distribution, are required. Several correlations have been proposed in the literature for the estimation of the leakage, of the kinetic energy carry-over coefficient (KE), of the discharge coefficient and of the friction factor.
After decades of research in the field of seal dynamics, the bulk-flow model has been confirmed as the most popular code in the industries, however, it is not clear which is the best set of correlations for the prediction of seal dynamic coefficients.
This paper allows identifying the most accurate combination of correlations to be implemented in the bulk-flow model. The correlations are related to: the leakage formula, the flow coefficient, the KE and the friction factor. Investigating the results of several models (32 models), which consider different sets of correlations, in comparison to the experimental data (performed by General Electric Oil & Gas), it is possible to observe the dependence, of the model correlations, on the operating conditions.
The experimental results, performed using a 14 teeth-on-stator labyrinth seal, investigate several operating conditions of pressure drop.