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Optimization of Labyrinth Seal for Screw Compressor Ht2007-32275

Optimization of Labyrinth Seal for Screw Compressor Ht2007-32275

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Published by api-3842143
Proceedings of HT2007
\
2007 ASME-JSME Thermal Engineering Summer Heat Transfer Conference
\
July 8-12, 2007, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA
Proceedings of HT2007
\
2007 ASME-JSME Thermal Engineering Summer Heat Transfer Conference
\
July 8-12, 2007, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA

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1 Copyright © 2007 by ASME
Proceedings of HT20072007 ASME-JSME Thermal Engineering Summer Heat Transfer ConferenceJuly 8-12, 2007, Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA
HT2007-32275
OPTIMIZATION OF LABYRINTH SEAL FOR SCREW COMPRESSOR
 
Selvaraji M,Dy. Manager,Technology Development,Elgi Equipments Ltd,Coimbatore -641005
Indiaselji@elgi.comwww.elgi.com
Sam P. Joseph,Engineer,Technology Development,Elgi Equipments Ltd,Coimbatore -641005
India

samjoseph@elgi.comwww.elgi.com
Nirmal N.Post Graduate of Thermal Engineering,Department of Mechanical Engineering,Government College of Technology,Coimbatore – 641 013.
IndiaABSTRACT
Keywords: Screw compressor, Labyrinth seals, LeakageOptimisation Heat-transfer analysis, Thermal analysis, and CFDanalysis.There is a growing demand for compressed air in the industryfor various applications. Majority of industrial requirements isin line with screw compressor operating range. Design andconstruction of screw compressors are demanding tasks thatrequire advanced calculations and theoretical knowledge.Clearances play a major role in the performance and reliabilityaspects of a screw compressor.Seals are provided in compressors to fit around rotor shafts inorder to prevent the leakage of lubricating oil and workingmedium. However there is a small clearance between the sealand rotor shaft, which can cause potential leakage of theworking medium. The performance of the compressor isdirectly related to the leakage rate through the seals.The labyrinth seal is a special type of seal, used in screwcompressors and turbo-machinery for sealing purpose.Labyrinth seal is a non-contacting type seal that uses a tortuouspath to minimize the gas leakage. The pressure drop occurs ateach labyrinth tooth as the medium is squeezed between thelabyrinth tooth and the rotor. The leakage through the seal isdirectly related to the labyrinth profile and also the clearancebetween the rotor and the labyrinth tooth.The present work is carried out to reduce the leakage throughthe labyrinth seal by optimising the tooth profile and operatingclearances.Heat transfer analysis is carried out on the housing of thelabyrinth seal to find out the boundary temperature of the seal.Also the heat transfer analysis on the labyrinth seal followed byThermo-structural analysis is carried out to find out the accurateoperating clearance of the seal.By using CFD as a tool, the optimisation is carried out ondifferent design configurations of labyrinth seal by comparingthe deviation in leakage rates. Effect of rotor speed, width of seal and pressure ratio on air leakage rate is also investigated.
 
2 Copyright © 2007 by ASMEA set of labyrinth seals has been designed based on the aboveoptimisation and tested in the compressor. The results havebeen compared with the CFD prediction.
INTRODUCTION
In a screw compressor, a pair of intermeshing helical screwrotors is housed in the housing. The rotor with profile outsidethe pitch circle is called male or main rotor, the rotor withprofile inside the pitch circle is called female or gate rotor. Theball bearing on the rotors takes axial forces of the screwcompressor. Similarly, the cylindrical roller bearing on bothends of the rotor receives radial forces from the screwcompressor. Screw compressors are same as piston compressorsin the principle of the rise of the air pressure, one rotor acts aspiston and other forms as cylinder in screw compressor andboth belong to positive displacement compressors.Seals are devices provided in all compressors and turbines.Labyrinth (Laby) seals are characterised as controlled clearanceseals without rubbing contact with the moving parts and withsome tolerable leakage. As is most usually the case, the sealhere is stationary and the shaft is rotating. Refer the Fig -1 forgeometry and boundary condition of the analysis.One of the earliest mathematical treatments of Laby seals wasby Egli [5] in the 1930’s where an idealised flow equation wasderived with empirically determined correction factors. Thismodel was the subject of study in this work against which thenumerical (CFD) model was built up.The heat transfer coefficients output from the flow analysiswere used in the thermo-structural analysis of the housing–sealsystem along with empirical thermal coefficients for coolingwater and high temperature air flows. The combined expansioneffect was observed. 
NOMENCLATURE
m = Leakage rate in kg/sA = Area in m2P = Pressure in barV = Velocity in m/sK = Index of expansion (1.4)
ρ
0
= Upstram Density
α
= Flow coefficient
ψ 
n
= Leakage function
γ 
= Carry over correction factor
β
= Pressure ratio = P
n
/ P
0
 P
0
= Upstream pressureP
n
= Down stream pressuren = Number of throttling(or) number of fins
γ 
= Kinematic visocity of hot and cold medium, m2/sec
h
α 
,s
- Thermal expansion coefficient of housing, m/mdegCR
h,s
- Housing and seal radius, mT
h,s,f 
- Temperature of housing and reference, degCV
h,c
- Velocity of hot and cold fluid, mD - Hydraulic mean diameter, mh
h,c
- Heat transfer coefficient of hot, cold fluid, W/m2K
ch
,
λ 
– Thermal conductivity of hot, cold fluid, W/mKR
eh,ec
- Reynolds number of hot, cold fluidP
rh,rc
- Prandtl number of hot, cold fluidN
uh,c
- Nusselt number of hot, cold fluid
δ
rf,rc
– Thermal expansion of housing and seal, mm
THEORETICAL ANALYSIS OF LABYRINTH SEALS
In a labyrinth seal; as the fluid flows from high pressure to lowpressure; it is forced to change directions and expand in stages.Airflow is assumed to be compressible and each stage isconsidered as a throttling. As air passes through the orifice, theentropy remains constant, while the pressure decreases owing tothe throttling. This will cause the velocity of air to increase. Thepressure in the cavity is taken as uniform.
EGLI’S MODEL
Initially, flow is considered as the isentropic expansion of acompressible fluid through a single ideal orifice. Later this isextended to include more than one orifice.Although the effects of rotation are neglected, this modelincludes an experimentally determined coefficient to accountfor the effects of kinetic energy carry-over in straight –throughseals. Empirical values of the carry-over coefficient as afunction of the number of throttles and the clearance to pitchratio are used. In addition, a flow coefficient to compensate forthe effects of friction and for the contraction of the flow throughthe seal throttles is employed. Graphs yield the variation of flowcoefficient as a function of the number of throttles, sealclearance, tooth thickness and overall pressure ratio.
MATHEMATICAL EXPRESSION TO CALCULATE THELEAKAGE RATE THROUGH THE LABYRINTH
 The final equation for flow through ‘n’ throttlings is:
m
=
00
 ρ γ  αψ 
P A
n
 …..……. (1)
Where
 
( )( )
2
log1
 β  β ψ 
en
n
+=
 …..……. (2)
 
3 Copyright © 2007 by ASME
NUMERICAL ANALYSIS THROUGH CFD
A commercial CFD code, FLUENT 6.1 was used for numericalanalysis. After initial trials, the implicit solver and
k-epsilon
(2-eqn)
 
flow model were chosen to simulate the compressible,viscous flow under steady-state conditions. The Labyrinth sealis subjected to 3 Barg and ambeint conditions between inlet andoutlet respectively. Although a 3-D model was attempted, the 2-D axisymmetric case has sufficed for the course of this work.The mesh dependence of the solution was studied and only theconverged results presented. The CFD model was thus crediblycreated to simulate results of sufficient accuracy, better than theidealised theoretical model.
Thermal expansion of Housing and Seal
Using the commercial Finite element code, ANSYS 8.1, thermalexpansion of the housing and seal are analysed. The heattransfer coefficients of cooling water and compressed air floware calculated for the housing as below.
Heat transfer coefficient of hot medium
The empirical relations for calculating the heat transfercoefficients are based on the twin shell heat exchanger.Reynolds number
hhh
 D
γ  
=
Re
 Nusselt number
4.08.0
PrRe023.0
hhh
 Nu
=
 ------
(3)
 Heat transfer coefficient of air
 D Nuh
hhh
λ 
=
 ------
(4)
 
Heat transfer coefficient of cold medium
Reynolds number
ccc
 D
γ  
=
Re
 Nusselt number
4.08.0
PrRe023.0
ccc
 Nu
=
 ------
(5)
 Heat transfer coefficient of cold medium
 D Nuh
ccc
λ 
=
 ------
(6)
 The boundary condition obtained from the above calculation isapplied in the thermal analysis and the temperature distributionof the rotors and the average value at required locations found.
Thermal Analysis of Housings 
Theoretical calculation of the thermal expansion of the housingat different locations is very complex due to the geometry,loading and boundary conditions and hence the ComputerAided Engineering assistance becomes mandatory.The equivalent 3D model was imported. 3D ELEMENTS wereused with the free mesh option to obtain a sufficiently fineMesh. Convective heat transfer coefficients were calculatedusing the equations 4 & 6 and input to areas where heat transferwas known to take place. Bulk temperatures and heat transfercoefficients of hot and cold medium were also given, refer Fig6.The thermal expansion can be calculated from the localtemperature of the material asRadial thermal expansion of Housing
)
 f hhh
 Rrh
=
α δ 
 ------
(7)
 Radial thermal expansion of Seal
 f sss
 Rrs
=
α δ 
 ------
(8)
 The operating clearance of the seal is obtained, which is afunction of thermal expansion of seal housing and seal.
RESULTS
 The CFD results for the pressure, density and velocity areindicated in the Fig 2 to 4 for the basic profile-1.The effect of the various profile configurations on leakageare analysed and compared in the table no.1.The Fig-5 indicates the flow of the analysis performed inAnsys.The temperature distribution plot obtained from the heattransfer analysis of the housing is shown in Fig 6.

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