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.
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  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.
m = Leakage rate in kg/sA = Area in m2P = Pressure in barV = Velocity in m/sK = Index of expansion (1.4)
= Upstram Density
= Flow coefficient
= Leakage function
= Carry over correction factor
= Pressure ratio = P
= Upstream pressureP
= Down stream pressuren = Number of throttling(or) number of fins
= Kinematic visocity of hot and cold medium, m2/sec
- Thermal expansion coefficient of housing, m/mdegCR
- Housing and seal radius, mT
- Temperature of housing and reference, degCV
- Velocity of hot and cold fluid, mD - Hydraulic mean diameter, mh
- Heat transfer coefficient of hot, cold fluid, W/m2K
– Thermal conductivity of hot, cold fluid, W/mKR
- Reynolds number of hot, cold fluidP
- Prandtl number of hot, cold fluidN
- Nusselt number of hot, cold fluid
– 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.
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:
ρ γ αψ
( )( )
β β ψ