A combined analytical-computational method is developed to calculate the transient pressure field and dynamic coefficients for high-pressure annular seal configurations which may be used in interstage and neck-ring seals of multistage centrifugal pumps. The solution procedure applies to constant-clearance or convergent-tapered geometries which may have different (but directionally-homogeneous) surface-roughness treatments on the stator or rotor seal elements. It applies in particular so-called “damper-seals” which employ smooth rotors and deliberately-roughened stator elements to enhance rotor stability. Hirs’ turbulent lubrication equations are modified slightly to account for different surface-roughness conditions on the rotor and stator. A perturbation analysis is employed in the eccentricity ratio to develop zeroth and first order perturbation equations. The zeroth-order equations define both the leakage and the development of circumferential flow due to shear forces at the rotor and stator surfaces. The first-order equations define perturbations in the pressure and axial and circumferential velocity fields due to small relative motion between the seal rotor and stator. The solution applies for small motion about a centered position and does not employ linearization with respect to either the taper angle or the degree of swirl, i.e., the difference between the circumferential velocity at the given axial position and the asymptotic circumferential-velocity solution. Test results for four different surface-roughness confirm the predicted net damping increase for “damper seals.” A round-hole-pattern stator yielded the highest net damping and lowest leakage of all seals tested. The seals are substantially stiffer than predicted, but the theory does an adequate job of predicting net damping.

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