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Advanced Steam Labyrinth Seal Design

Phase 1 Initial Concept Evaluation

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Technical Report

Advanced Steam Labyrinth Seal


Design
Phase 1 Initial Concept Evaluation
1011932

Final Report, May 2005

EPRI Project Manager


S. Hesler

Electric Power Research Institute 3412 Hillview Avenue, Palo Alto, California 94304 PO Box 10412, Palo Alto, California 94303 USA
800.313.3774 650.855.2121 askepri@epri.com www.epri.com

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CITATIONS
This report was prepared by
The University of Tennessee Space Institute
411 B.H. Goethert Parkway
Tullahoma, TN 37388
Principal Investigator
A. Vakili
This report describes research sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The report is a corporate document that should be cited in the literature in the following manner:
Advanced Steam Seal Labyrinth Design: Phase 1 Initial Concept Evaluation. EPRI, Palo Alto,
CA: 2005. 1011932.

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PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

This report evaluates the design advantages of a number of new labyrinth seal concepts
compared to an existing seal for specific locations along steam turbine shafts (such as the N2
packing on a combined high pressureintermediate pressure [HP-IP] shaft). The physics of fluid
flow in selected new labyrinth seals along with the flow pattern and its effect on the dynamics of
the turbine shaft have been examined, and the results are presented in this report. The new seals
have specific features that are designed to minimize two basic and critical seal design
performance issues: leakage through the seals and shaft dynamics effects on the leakage. In
recent years, interest in increased efficiency of various turbines, including steam powergenerating turbines, has grown. As the unit price of energy increases, efficiency of the
production and consumption units becomes more relevant to the producers and to the consumers.
Seals are one of the key components for improving the efficiency of steam turbines. Improving
the seal is accomplished through better leakage reduction that will reduce wasted steam,
improving the efficiency of the turbines. In addition to reduced leakage, todays power producers
demand reliability and seek a reduction in unscheduled maintenance caused by seal damage.
Results and Findings
A new labyrinth seal has been conceptually developed that has a number of advantages and
allows some flexibility in the implementation of the seal at various stages of axial-flow
machines. The new seal also has the potential for reducing leakage and improving rotor dynamic
stability. Durability of the design is a key requirement that will be addressed in a subsequent
phase of research. Leakage flow results obtained to date are based on numerical simulation and
would need to be validated through physical experimentations. This numerical investigation is
justified primarily as an initial effort due to the simplicity of the new seal and its future potential.
The seal cross-section is curved, andif constructed from a material that allows elastic
deformationit would be compliant if rubbed by the turbine shaft. In this manner, the seal
clearance with respect to the shaft could initially be small. During operation, as the shaft-seal
clearance is decreased, the local pressure would increase and have a stabilizing effect on the
shaft dynamics.
Challenges and Objectives
This report is useful for the power generation technology and plant managers, engineers,
designers, and maintenance supervisors associated with the operation of steam turbines. The
report describes a number of innovative axial-flow labyrinth seal designs. Two-dimensional
axisymmetric flow analyses were performed to optimize leakage reduction with these seal design
concepts. Additional studies are recommended, and those with current seal design or operational
concerns may be particularly interested in reading about, following, and supporting this effort.

Applications, Value, and Use


The types of seals examined in this report can potentially reduce steam leakage or operate at
increased nominal clearance so that rubs are less likely to occur during startups. In addition,
there is potential for improved shaft stability with these labyrinth concepts. The potential
applications would then be for all seals, where long-term durability and improved performance
are desirable.
EPRI Perspective
Steam turbines in many of todays generating stations use interstage labyrinth designs that are
essentially unchanged from those employed more than 30 years ago. Despite the significant
numerical analysis capabilities offered by computational fluid dynamics (CFD), few
improvements have been made in the basic axial flow labyrinth seal design. Parametric analyses
such as those presented in this report can be used to design improved retrofit seals that are
economical, improve operating efficiency, and extend the time between turbine overhauls.
Approach
This report contains the results of an initial study in which two-dimensional and axisymmetric
CFD was used to optimize the geometric characteristics of a new labyrinth seal design concept
based on the criteria of reduced leakage.
Keywords
Steam turbine
Seals
Labyrinth
Steam leakage
Packing

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
EPRI and The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) would like to acknowledge Lew
Shuster of Reliant Resources for his role in initiating this research and his advice in developing
the work scope and recommendations.
UTSI graduate students who have contributed to this study are Sricharan Ayyalasomayajula and
Abraham J. Meganathan. Their participation in this study and assistance in performing the details
of this research are gratefully acknowledged.

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ABSTRACT
A number of new labyrinth seal concepts and their design advantages over an existing seal have
been comparatively evaluated. The leakage flow in a number of new and in one traditional
stationary stepped labyrinth seal was investigated using computations (two-dimensional [2-D]
and axisymmetric computational fluid dynamics [CFD] modeling) of the flow through the seal.
The recommended optimized seal cross-section is curved with a compliant profile that allows
elastic deformation of the seal if rubbed because of the dynamics of the turbine shaft.
Design features for the new seals considered in this report are based on physical principles. First,
the smaller the clearance gaps between the shaft and the seal, the lower the steam leakage
through the seal. Second, conformal flexibility of a seal is highly desirable (if it can be achieved)
in a seals performing better than traditional fixed-shape radial-profile seals. The challenge is to
design a seal with the given geometry from a material that would accommodate the amount of
deflection needed without exceeding the elastic structural limits of the material.
Therefore, the seals considered in this study have curved (that is, flexible) profiles that allow the
individual seals to deflect with the shaft at any time, not just during the startup process. This
profile has been named the C seal for the purposes of this report. This feature is conjectured to
have a special effect that is favorable to the shaft dynamics. The C seal clearance with the shaft
could initially be even smaller than that with baseline seals because it has intrinsic flexibility and
would not damage the shaft during its excursions. During operations such as startup, as the
shafts relative distance to the seal is decreased and contact is made, a large arc of the C seal
comes in contact with the shaft because of its flexibility. Therefore, the local pressure increases,
creating a stabilizing effect on the shaft. This allows for smaller clearance gaps to be maintained
even after a rub.
The material and structural aspects of the design issues are not addressed in this Phase 1 effort
because of the limitations in scope and computational capacity. Flow through the seals, as
computed from the CFD models, showed significant leakage reduction as compared to baseline
seals. It is conjectured that this leakage level would generally remain constant below the baseline
levels throughout the life of the seal if the design features relating to labyrinth compliance are
accomplished.

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CONTENTS

1 INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................1-1
Nomenclature ........................................................................................................................1-2
2 TECHNICAL DISCUSSIONS .................................................................................................2-1
Seal Discharge Coefficient ....................................................................................................2-3
Flow Parameter .....................................................................................................................2-4
Total Pressure Loss ..............................................................................................................2-4
3 PRESENT STUDY..................................................................................................................3-1
Baseline ................................................................................................................................3-1
New Seal Designs .................................................................................................................3-2
Numerical Modeling Setup ....................................................................................................3-5
4 RESULTS ...............................................................................................................................4-1
Validation of CFD Analysis....................................................................................................4-1
Analysis of the Baseline Seal Flow .......................................................................................4-1
Performance of New Seals....................................................................................................4-4
Structural Analysis...............................................................................................................4-12
5 CONCLUSIONS .....................................................................................................................5-1
Recommendations ................................................................................................................5-2
6 REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................6-1
A SUMMARY OF CALCULATED LEAKAGE FLOWS FOR VARIOUS LABYRINTH
CONFIGURATIONS ................................................................................................................. A-1

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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 2-1 Schematic Representation of a Generic Stepped Labyrinth Seal, Depicting
Two Cycles of a Seal (each cycle is composed of three stages; pressure in the ith
stage is designated as Pi) ..................................................................................................2-2
Figure 2-2 Schematic Representation of a Generic Straight-Through Labyrinth Seal,
Depicting Two Cycles of a Seal (each cycle is composed of three stages; pressure
in the ith stage is designated as Pi).....................................................................................2-2
Figure 3-1 Baseline Stepped Labyrinth Seal Geometry Used for Numerical Modeling
Showing Boundary Conditions and the Grid (x/L = 0.043; see Figure 2-1)........................3-1
Figure 3-2 C-Shaped Tall Knife (Sharp-Edged) and Two Vertical Short Knives........................3-2
Figure 3-3 Z-Shaped Knives, One Tall and Two Short Knives ..................................................3-2
Figure 3-4 C-Shaped Sharp-Edged Knives, One Tall and Two Short Knives (C Sharp +
CC).....................................................................................................................................3-2
Figure 3-5 C-Shaped Sharp-Edged Knives, One Tall and Three Short Knives (C Sharp +
CCC) ..................................................................................................................................3-3
Figure 3-6 C-Shaped Flat-Edged Knives, One Tall and Two Short Knives (C Flat + CC) .........3-3
Figure 3-7 C-Shaped Flat-Edged Knives, One Tall and Three Short Knives (C Flat +
CCC) ..................................................................................................................................3-3
Figure 3-8 Baseline Seal with Bent Knives, Resulting in Increased Clearance .........................3-4
Figure 3-9 C-Shaped Flat (One Tall and Two Short) C-Knives Bent (increased
clearance as in Figure 3-8) ................................................................................................3-4
Figure 3-10 C-Shaped Flat (One Tall and Three Short) Knives Bent (increased
clearance as in Figure 3-8) ................................................................................................3-4
Figure 4-1 Comparisons of Computational and Experimental Results ......................................4-2
Figure 4-2 Variation of Predicted Total Pressure Across the Multistage Baseline Seal
Assembly............................................................................................................................4-2
Figure 4-3 Velocity Vectors from CFD Analysis on the Baseline Seal .......................................4-3
Figure 4-4 Percent Change in Leakage of New Labyrinth Designs Compared to an
Undamaged Vertical Knife Configuration as Shown in Figure 2-1 .....................................4-6
Figure 4-5 Percent Change in Leakage of Undamaged Curved Seal Configurations
Relative to a Damaged Vertical Knife Configuration ..........................................................4-7
Figure 4-6 Stream Function Contour Plot of Baseline Seal (P1/P14 = 10) ................................4-8
Figure 4-7 Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped Tall Knife and Vertical Short
Knives (P1/P14 = 10) ........................................................................................................4-8
Figure 4-8 Stream Function Contour Plot of Z-Shaped Tall and Short Knives (P1/P14 =
10) ......................................................................................................................................4-8

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Figure 4-9 Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Two Short Sharp
Knives (P1/P14 = 10) ........................................................................................................4-9
Figure 4-10 Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Three Short Sharp
Knives (P1/P14 = 10) ........................................................................................................4-9
Figure 4-11 Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Two Short Flat
Knives (P1/P14 = 10) ........................................................................................................4-9
Figure 4-12 Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Three Short Flat
Knives (P1/P14 = 10) ........................................................................................................4-9
Figure 4-13 Stream Function Contour Plot of Deformed Vertical Knife (P1/P14 = 10) ............4-10
Figure 4-14 Stream Function Contour Plot of Deformed C-Shaped One Tall and Two
Short Flat Knives (P1/P14 = 10).......................................................................................4-10
Figure 4-15 Stream Function Contour Plot of Deformed C-Shaped One Tall and Three
Short Flat Knives (P1/P14 = 10).......................................................................................4-10
Figure 4-16 Velocity Vectors for the New Seal Designs (Pressure Ratio = 10) .......................4-11
Figure 4-17 Vertical Seal Deformation in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection .........................................................................................................................4-13
Figure 4-18 Vertical Seal Deformation in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection .........................................................................................................................4-13
Figure 4-19 Vertical Seal Stress in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection .........................................................................................................................4-14
Figure 4-20 Vertical Seal Stress in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection .........................................................................................................................4-14
Figure 4-21 C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Deformation in the X Direction for an Imposed
1.02-mm Tip Deflection ....................................................................................................4-15
Figure 4-22 C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Deformation in the Y Direction for an Imposed
1.02-mm Tip Deflection ....................................................................................................4-15
Figure 4-23 C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Stress in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02mm Tip Deflection ............................................................................................................4-16
Figure 4-24 C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Stress in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02mm Tip Deflection ............................................................................................................4-16
Figure 4-25 C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Deformation in the X Direction for an Imposed
1.02-mm Tip Deflection ....................................................................................................4-17
Figure 4-26 C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Deformation in the Y Direction for an Imposed
1.02-mm Tip Deflection ....................................................................................................4-17
Figure 4-27 C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Stress in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm
Tip Deflection ...................................................................................................................4-18
Figure 4-28 C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Stress in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm
Tip Deflection ...................................................................................................................4-18

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LIST OF TABLES
Table 4-1 Comparison of Computational and Experimental Results ........................................4-1
Table A-1 Nominal Leakage Flow (kg/s) Based on Two-Dimensional CFD Calculation
for Seal Geometries Identified in Section 3....................................................................... A-2
Table A-2 Percent Change in Calculated Leakage Flow Relative to Baseline Vertical
Knife Design* .................................................................................................................... A-2
Table A-3 Nominal Leakage Flow (kg/s) Based on Two-Dimensional CFD Calculation of
Damaged Seal Configurations .......................................................................................... A-3
Table A-4 Percent Change in Calculated Leakage Flow Relative to Vertical Knife
Design*.............................................................................................................................. A-3

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1
INTRODUCTION

The efficiency of modern steam turbines has long been dependent on a number of factors.
Minimizing leakage of steam that bypasses the fixed and rotating blade elements and passes
through the shaft end packing is critical in modern machines. Maintaining low leakage rates
requires improved packing designs. One traditional type of interstage packing uses labyrinth
sealsa noncontacting type of seal that is designed to produce a significant pressure drop in the
leakage steam. These seals have been in use for decades in a variety of turbo-machinery
applications [14].
The problem of leakage between the different pressure zones, or stages, directly affects the
amount of steam flow performing useful work and thus the amount of power delivered by the
turbine. An attractive feature of labyrinth seals is that they do not contact the rotating shaft. This
has a direct impact on the integrity of the rotor and also drastically decreases the cost of regular
replacement and maintenance compared to other contacting seals, such as brush seals. Recently,
brush seals have received special attention because they can be quite effective in reducing steam
leakage [5]. However, these seals do have certain shortcomings. Brush seals work well in
reducing leakage if their clearance relative to the shaft is small. They are most effective as
contact seals, for which life and wear rate are major concerns. At certain locations along the
shaft, the lateral displacement of the shaft at critical speed during startup exceeds the brush seals
limit, and the seal and shaft wear is quite high. For such situations, if the initial clearances for the
seals are too small, the seal and the shaft may be damaged. The seal clearances after such a rub
event are large, which reduces the seals performance. In addition, bristle loss and debris could
lead to maintenance problems.
A number of alternative interstage packing designs are available, such as retractable and brush
seals. A configuration incorporating the use of both labyrinth and brush seals has also been
studied [6]. Advantages derived from the lowered maintenance and replacement costs in the long
run have led to renewed efforts in enhancing the performance of the labyrinth seal. The key
design factor restricting leakage is the large total pressure drop produced by flow passing
through multiple labyrinth seals. If not damaged, multiple labyrinth seals are capable of dropping
the leakage stream pressure to a level near that of the exhaust pressure, thus reducing the leakage
flow.

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Introduction

The present study has been mainly concentrated on the conceptual development of new
configurations of labyrinth seals. The main objective of this study has been to develop a new
design for the labyrinth seal using numerical modeling, with the following advantages:

Good dynamic sealing properties

Higher mechanical strength

Simple geometry for ease of manufacture and maintenance

Nomenclature
Acl

seal clearance area

Cd

seal discharge coefficient

cl

seal clearance height

Chl

chamber length

Chh

chamber height

flow parameter

stream function

specific heat ratio

step width

m&

mass flow rate

Pi

static pressure at ith chamber

Pt

stagnation pressure

PR

pressure ratio

knife angle

Sh

step height

temperature

axial position of knife with respect to step

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Introduction

degrees Kelvin temperature

k-

Turbulent Kinetic Energy model used in CFD

y+

nondimensional wall layer dimension

yP

distance from point P to wall

fluid density at the wall

fluid viscosity

wall shear stress

HP

high pressure

IP

intermediate pressure

2-D

two-dimensional

CFD

computational fluid dynamics

FLUENT

commercial software for performing computational fluid dynamics

PIV

particle image velocimetry

N2

designation of packing between HP and IP sections of a combined HP-IP turbine


rotor

kg

kilograms

seconds

sec

seconds

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2
TECHNICAL DISCUSSIONS

An inherent design problem in turbo-machinery is minimizing leakage between stages and


through shaft end packings. This issue has assumed greater importance as typical operating
pressures have increased over the years. The labyrinth seal is a noncontacting shaft seal that has
been in widespread use for many decades in a variety of applications [14]. Labyrinth seals are
typically used as a shaft seal in steam and gas turbines, compressors, turbo-chargers, and various
other applications where a robust yet relatively simple, passive seal is required between two
zones with significantly different pressures. Labyrinth seals have numerous intrinsic benefits
including low maintenance, negligible running torque, simplicity, and reduced particulate
contamination. However, typical labyrinth seals have an innate tendency to leak because there is
no mechanical seal between the two areas of differing pressures. Although other types of
contacting seals have been devised that provide better leakage characteristics, the reliance on
contact between a rotating and nonrotating surface with these devices leads to unacceptable
levels of wear. Other seal types include the viscoseal [7] (for relatively high viscous fluids) and
the brush seal [5] (limited by material properties).
The leakage flow through a labyrinth seal can be considered as a flow through a series of orifice
restrictions. Figure 2-1 depicts a schematic representation of a labyrinth seal with vertical knives
and steps, including the definition of key parameters. In a global sense, losses caused by
individual restrictions and obstacles combine to produce a net energy loss to the system. The
fluid, driven by the total pressure differential between Pi and Pi+1 (as shown in Figure 2-1) is
forced through a narrow clearance (restriction). As the fluid passes through the restriction (acting
as an orifice), it undergoes an increase in velocity and a corresponding decrease in pressure with
increased turbulence due to the sharp knife tip. At some point after the orifice, the fluid adjusts to
the pressure condition in the next chamber. During this process, some of the kinetic energy of the
fluid is recovered as a pressure rise, and some losses are converted to heat. The remaining total
pressure of the fluid provides the pressure difference that forces the fluid to enter the next stage
of the seal. Ideally, the kinetic energy of the fluid resulting from the previous stage of throttling
will be dissipated before the fluid enters the next stage [8, 9]. In this manner, by the time the
fluid has traveled through all of the stages of the seal, its total pressure difference is greatly
reduced, leading to negligible leakage flow through the seal.

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Technical Discussions

Figure 2-1
Schematic Representation of a Generic Stepped Labyrinth Seal, Depicting Two Cycles of a
Seal (each cycle is composed of three stages; pressure in the ith stage is designated as Pi)

Figure 2-2
Schematic Representation of a Generic Straight-Through Labyrinth Seal, Depicting Two
Cycles of a Seal (each cycle is composed of three stages; pressure in the ith stage is
designated as Pi)

In a labyrinth seal, the flow locally changes direction often and rapidly speeds up and down as it
negotiates a path through the seal. Total pressure is lost continuously through the seal, but there
may be local rises in static pressure due to area changes, local stagnation points, and sudden
expansions as the fluid flows into a chamber of the seal.

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Technical Discussions

Methods for analyses [1015] of labyrinth seal leakage can be classified into two main
categories: global models and knife-to-knife models. Knife-to-knife models explicitly
characterize the system geometry and calculate the internal flow through a seal by calculating
relevant physical parameters as they change at various points internal to the seal.
Although computationally intensive, this knife-to-knife method allows for changes in flow
behavior at each throttling within the seal. Global models approximate the labyrinth seal either
by evaluating the cumulative effect due to the series of throttling losses or as a rough pipe model
with uniformly distributed wall friction.
Although either of these approaches can yield good empirical correlations, the rough pipe model
provides little information to the seal designer in terms of physically relevant design parameters
such as knife spacing, shape, and sequence. A series of restriction global models provides good
results but encounters difficulty when calculating kinetic energy carryover. Additionally,
problems are encountered predicting seal behavior in choked flow regimes [12].
With the significant advances in computational capabilities, numerical analysis of computational
fluid dynamics is increasingly used to study, evaluate, and predict seal designs [1625]. The
effect of the labyrinth seal flow on rotor dynamics is also an important topic that has been
studied extensively [2632].
Based on a review of the open literature, there appears to be a deficiency in available information
detailing the behavior of stepped labyrinth seals with constant rotor diameter (see Figure 2-1).
Greater success has been obtained analyzing and predicting the leakage of straight-through
labyrinth seals (see Figure 2-2) due to the relative simplicity of the internal flow and the wide
availability of experimental results [3335]. This report addresses the stepped labyrinth seal flow
physics and relates them to the seal design through modeling. Leakage flow through the system
may be theoretically quantified in terms of various flow and design parameters.

Seal Discharge Coefficient


A particularly useful parameter that characterizes seal performance is the seal discharge
coefficient, Cdseal:

Cd seal =

mass flow rateactual


mass flow rateideal

Eq. 2-1

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Technical Discussions

As described by Waschka et al. [33], the ideal mass flow rate is calculated for inviscid onedimensional compressible flow (for subcritical flow case) using Equation 2-2. The labyrinth
clearance area is used as the cross-sectional area of a hypothetical nozzle and the seal overall
pressure ratio as the nozzle pressure ratio.
1

m& ideal

k 1 2
2

2k
P2 k P2 k
= Acl
P11 1
P1 P1
(k 1)

Eq. 2-2

Flow Parameter
A dimensional parameter, , is used by Stocker [36, 4] to correlate the leakage performance of a
labyrinth seal. This parameter can be derived in the form given in Equation 2-3, using the ideal
gas law [33]:

m& =

P1 Acl
T1

Eq. 2-3

Lower values of and Cd represent less leakage in seals for similar operating conditions.

Total Pressure Loss


The effectiveness of a particular seal design or configuration can be represented in terms of the
loss of total pressure across the seal. The pressure loss can be expressed, relative to the inlet total
pressure, in dimensionless form as given by:

Pt (inlet ) Pt (exit )
Pt (inlet )

Eq. 2-4

This is useful because it is a direct measure of the relative energy dissipated in the seal internal
flow passages.

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3
PRESENT STUDY

Baseline
An existing labyrinth seal design has been considered as a basic design to start the investigation.
A General Electric N2 packing has been selected for the baseline analysis. This packing is
located between the high pressure (HP) and intermediate pressure (IP) sections of a combined
HP-IP rotor. This design, hereafter referred to as the baseline seal, typically consists of stages of
one straight tall knife and two straight short knives fixed by a clamping mechanism in the turbine
housing and situated above the rotor. The knives are at a prescribed clearance above the rotor or
the shaft of the turbine. The rotor has steps built onto its surface so that the short knives could be
situated directly above the steps. This design forces the flow to go over and around the steps,
resulting in increased pressure losses and reduced leakage. Figure 3-1 shows the baseline
geometry and the grid used in this study.

Figure 3-1
Baseline Stepped Labyrinth Seal Geometry Used for Numerical Modeling Showing
Boundary Conditions and the Grid (x/L = 0.043; see Figure 2-1)

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Present Study

New Seal Designs


Four new seal geometries were studied and are presented in this report:

C-shaped tall knife with straight short knives (see Figure 3-2)

Z-shaped tall and short knives (see Figure 3-3)

C-shaped tall and short knives with sharp end: two and three short knives (see Figures 3-4
and 3-5)

C-shaped tall and short knives with flat end: two and three short knives (see Figures 3-6 and
3-7)

Figure 3-2
C-Shaped Tall Knife (Sharp-Edged) and Two Vertical Short Knives

Figure 3-3
Z-Shaped Knives, One Tall and Two Short Knives

Figure 3-4
C-Shaped Sharp-Edged Knives, One Tall and Two Short Knives (C Sharp + CC)

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Present Study

Figure 3-5
C-Shaped Sharp-Edged Knives, One Tall and Three Short Knives (C Sharp + CCC)

Figure 3-6
C-Shaped Flat-Edged Knives, One Tall and Two Short Knives (C Flat + CC)

Figure 3-7
C-Shaped Flat-Edged Knives, One Tall and Three Short Knives (C Flat + CCC)

The nominal clearance between the shaft and the seal knife-edge was kept constant in all cases.
The basic idea behind these new designs is to allow flexibility in the seal elements so that the
clearance gaps can be reduced throughout the life of the seal and damage to the shaft avoided. It
is intended that flexibility of the seal element be achieved through special geometry of the seal
element and through the use of advanced materials. This report is concerned mainly with the
topic of numerically testing new geometries that could help to achieve the previously stated
objective of flexibility while providing lower leakage rates than those of the baseline design for
the same clearance dimensions.

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Present Study

In addition to these new models, three damaged labyrinth geometries were modeled,
incorporating a realistic baseline deformed seal and other uniform deformation in the seals:

Deformed baseline seal (see Figure 3-8); this shape was similar to seal conditions observed
after a units shutdown

Deformed C-shaped seals with flat end; two and three short knives (see Figure 3-9 and 3-10)

Modeling of the deformed geometries allows for a better estimation of the effect of damage and
the leakage reduction if the desired design features of the new seal are accomplished.

Figure 3-8
Baseline Seal with Bent Knives, Resulting in Increased Clearance

Figure 3-9
C-Shaped Flat (One Tall and Two Short) C-Knives Bent (increased clearance as in Figure
3-8)

Figure 3-10
C-Shaped Flat (One Tall and Three Short) Knives Bent (increased clearance as in Figure
3-8)

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Present Study

Numerical Modeling Setup


Computational modeling of the flow through selected seal configurations was performed for
comparison with experiments and to obtain a better physical understanding of the leakage
process and evaluate the new seal designs. Two-dimensional (2-D) and axisymmetric models of
labyrinth seals were studied using a commercial, finite volume computational fluid dynamics
(CFD) code (FLUENT). An advantage of using computational methods is the ability to study a
large number of design configurations and parameters and evaluate them within a short period of
time. Compared to performing all of the necessary experiments, CFD can also be a cost-effective
solution.
Figure 3-1 shows the computational domain and the boundary conditions for the baseline stepped
labyrinth seal. An expanded view of a small region is also shown for clarity. Triangular mesh
elements were used to create an unstructured mesh on the geometry. Approximately 50,000
nodes were used for each configuration.
A second order discretization scheme was used for the pressure, density, and momentum terms.
A first order upwind scheme was used for turbulence and energy terms. A two-equation (k-)
turbulence model was used in the flow simulations. The standard k- model is a semi-empirical
model based on model transport equations for the turbulence kinetic energy (k) and its
dissipation rate ( ). The model transport equation for k is derived from the exact equation, while
the model transport equation for was obtained using physical reasoning and bears little
resemblance to its mathematically exact counterpart.
In the derivation of the k- model used in this analysis, it was assumed that the flow is fully
turbulent and the effects of molecular viscosity are negligible. Instead of resolving boundary
layers, standard wall functions were used to model the viscous effects in the near wall regions.
The wall elements were assigned a nondimensional y+ parameter value as follows:

Eq. 3-1

where:

is the friction velocity, yP is the distance from point P to the wall, w is the fluid density at the
wall, w is the wall shear stress, and is the fluid viscosity at point P. Values of y+ ranged
between 30 and 100. Standard wall functions available in FLUENT were used. Air at 600K was
used as the operating fluid. A parametric study was conducted over a wide range of absolute
pressure ratios (Pinlet/Poutlet = 2 through 10). The pressure outlet boundary was maintained at
ambient conditions, and the inlet pressure was changed to achieve different pressure ratios.

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Present Study

Limited structural modeling was performed on the following seals:

Baseline vertical seal

C-shaped seal with sharp edge

C-shaped seal with flat edge

Static 2-D structural analysis was conducted on the seal geometries using ANSYS with a model
containing approximately 1000 nodes. Steel was chosen as the material with the following
properties:

Youngs modulus of 200,000 MPa

Poissons ratio of 0.33

The seal carrier displacement was fixed at zero, and a displacement of 1.02 mm was imposed on
the labyrinth knife tip in a direction toward the seal carrier. The displacement was in the positive
Y direction (acting toward the stator) to simulate the effect of rotor contact.

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4
RESULTS

A 2-D simulation using CFD analysis and structural analyses using a limited number of nodes
were performed on the baseline seal and the new designs. Analysis was performed in a wide
range of pressure ratios (Pinlet/Pexit) up to a value of 10. Flow is from right to left in all figures in
this section (see Figures 4-1 through 4-28).

Validation of CFD Analysis


Results obtained from CFD for the baseline seal were compared with results from a previous 2-D
experimental study conducted at The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) [3840].
Experimental results were obtained through particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements and
represent an average of about 60 instantaneous measurements. Figures 4-1a and 4-1b show
vorticity contours and streaklines from CFD and PIV, respectively. Vorticity is an indication of
the amount of rotationality in the flow. Figure 4-1a, with data obtained from CFD, provides a
converged steady-state solution. These images show that the analysis and experiment agree well
on the major features of the flow. Immediately identifiable are three large vortices in the flow. In
the earlier study [1], experiments were conducted to compare the baseline seal to a new seal with
slanted (60 from the conventional X-axis) tall knives and high steps (40%). Comparison of the
flow field obtained from CFD for this design also showed very good agreement with
experiments. Data obtained from CFD analysis predicted the percent reduction in leakage very
well when compared to the experiments. These results are presented in a recent publication [38].
A sample of analysis results calculated at a pressure ratio of 10 is shown in Table 4-1.
Table 4-1
Comparison of Computational and Experimental Results
Model

Reference

X/L

P1/P14

% Reduction
(Experiment)

% Reduction
(CFD)

60 slant tall knife + 40%


high step

Baseline
seal

0.043

10

17.3

17.27

Analysis of the Baseline Seal Flow


Figure 4-2 shows the total pressure variation for different pressure ratios (Pinlet/Pexit) across the
seal. Total pressure reduces continuously throughout the length of the seal. Whenever the flow
has to negotiate the step on the rotor or a knife-edge, there is a sudden drop in total pressure.
Non-isentropic energy conversions take place at different locations across the seal. At each
knife-edge, there is a reduction in static pressure and a gain in kinetic energy. Static pressure
recovers after the flow passes through the knife, and the gained kinetic energy dissipates quickly.
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Results

Total pressure differential is the overall driver for flow leakage. Ideally, if the total pressure
differential at the last seal and the exit is reduced to a very small value, then the seal leakage will
be reduced to a very small amount as well. It is important to note that there is still more than
20% of the total pressure (see Figure 4-2) available in the flow. Reducing the total energy (that
is, total pressure) available for the flow at the last throttling point is the objective in reducing
leakages for a given clearance. Figure 4-3 shows the velocity vectors of the flow within the seal.

Figure 4-1
Comparisons of Computational and Experimental Results

Figure 4-2
Variation of Predicted Total Pressure Across the Multistage Baseline Seal Assembly

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Results

Figure 4-3
Velocity Vectors from CFD Analysis on the Baseline Seal

The following mechanisms and features identified in the flow can reduce leakage:

Stagnation of the flow on the knives and other solid boundaries

Generation and sustenance of turbulent vortices and other non-isentropic energy conversion
processes

Curvature of the path taken by the leakage flow [37]

A parametric study to evaluate the relative significance of different geometric and flow
parameters was conducted on the baseline seal, and the results are presented in a recent
publication [38]. The following observations were derived from the parametric study:

Pressure ratio Flow parameters and Cd achieve a near-constant state after choking
conditions set in.

Tip clearance gap Smaller clearances between the rotor and stator are very effective in
reducing leakage; this is the case for any type of seal. However, with reduced clearances,
wear and damage to shaft and seal are major concerns. The new design proposed in this study
has the potential to achieve smaller operating clearance gaps without damaging the shaft or
the seal.

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Results

Step height Varying step height alone contributes very little (about 2%) to the reduction in
a constant rotor diameter seal assembly. However, it could be used in combination with other
designs for better performance [3840].

Axial location of the knife Leakage reduces as the short knife-edge moves toward the
center of the step. At a particular location (X/L = 0.383), it results in a maximum reduction in
leakage. This is also one of the very important parameters that could help reduce leakage,
especially when the tall knife between steps could create a significant stagnation of the flow.
In practice, however, the X/L location in operation varies as a result of relative thermal
expansion, and the improved labyrinth design must reduce leakage flow for all relative
locations of the short knives and step.

As a result of this baseline analysis, the following observations and suggestions are given for
improving the performance of the seal by changing the seal geometry:

The leakage jet was found to extend from one orifice of the seal assembly through the next
downstream orifice without any significant hindrance. To improve the sealing efficiency, the
labyrinth design should induce the velocity vectors to impinge on the rotor surface wall, the
knife surface, and the stationary wall to increase the likelihood of flow stagnation.

The kinetic energy of the steam can also be attenuated by the creation of highly turbulent
vortices in the cavity between adjacent knives of the seal. The labyrinth design should be
able to create such vortices in the seal cavities.

Further, the rotating turbine shaft experiences a precession motion about its geometric axis. As a
result, the tips of the knives occasionally impinge on the shaft, and the tips are subjected to
deformation and damage. Ideally, the knives should experience minimal damage caused by
impact with the rotor during turbine operation.

Performance of New Seals


The new designs (described in the previous section) were analyzed using numerical modeling.
Consider the equation for flow parameter . If the temperature, clearance area, and inlet pressure
variables are fixed, it is possible to directly compare the mass flow rates of different
configurations. Mass flow rates for all of the configurations were calculated and are tabulated in
Tables A-1 through A-4 (see Appendix A). The percent reduction in leakage as compared to a
new baseline seal (see Figure 2-1) is plotted in Figure 4-4. Negative values indicate a reduction
in leakage. It can be observed from Figure 4-4 that the curved (C) seal with sharp edges (one tall
and three short knives) performs best, followed by the C seal with flat edges with the same
configuration (one tall and three short knives). As discussed, one of the major concerns is the
effect of a rub event on the seal and the shaft. The C seal design envisions a knife that is flexible
and therefore able to achieve smaller clearance gaps even after a rub event. It is expected that the
performance of vertical seals would worsen once the seal edge was deformed, and a larger
clearance gap would thus be permanently created. Similarly, a C seal with a sharp edge could
also be more easily damaged at its tip, as demonstrated by structural analysis (described later in
this report). Based on the analysis, the C seal with a flat edge is more robust and is therefore
favored for further study. Figure 4-5 compares the performance of the C seal with a flat edge to
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Results

that of a deformed (that is, an additional clearance of 0.04 inches) vertical baseline seal. If the
desired design feature (flexibility of the knife) can be accomplished, the new C seal could reduce
leakage by about 65% compared to the deformed baseline for the pressure ratios considered in
this study (see Tables A-1 through A-4).
Figures 4-6 through 4-15 show the contours of stream function for all of the designs analyzed.
For a 2-D flow, the stream function, , is defined so that:

Eq. 4-1

The value of is constant along a streamline. The difference between constant values of stream
function defining two streamlines is the mass rate of flow between the streamlines.
Note: All images are plotted with the same contour range of 01.85 kg/sec. Blue represents low
mass flow rate, and red indicates a higher mass flow rate.
It can easily be observed that the curvature of the seal forces a different type of flow path
compared to the vertical baseline seals, even in cases where the leakage flow increases. Figure
4-16a through 4-16c shows the velocity vectors of the Z seal, C seal with two short knives, and C
seal with three short knives, respectively. It is noted that the C seal is able to direct the flow
toward the stator or the seal element and reduce the kinetic energy carryover to the next
chamber. Also noted is the presence of turbulent vortices and the tortuous path taken by the flow
in Figure 4-16c.
Analysis of the numerical simulations has yielded the following observations:

The CFD analysis indicates that the curved shapes for the knives could result in improved
seal performance. This can be explained on the basis that the flow direction is easily altered
using a C-shape for the knife, the degree of alteration being dependent on the curvature of the
C. Further study would be required to optimize the curvature so that flow path modifications
produce the desired effects while maintaining the structural integrity of the seal.

The velocity vectors are more successfully directed into the rotor and/or the walls of the
knives in the case of the C-shaped design as compared to the straight or Z-shaped knife
designs.

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Results

Figure 4-4
Percent Change in Leakage of New Labyrinth Designs Compared to an Undamaged
Vertical Knife Configuration as Shown in Figure 2-1

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Results

Figure 4-5
Percent Change in Leakage of Undamaged Curved Seal Configurations Relative to a
Damaged Vertical Knife Configuration

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Results

Figure 4-6
Stream Function Contour Plot of Baseline Seal (P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-7
Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped Tall Knife and Vertical Short Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-8
Stream Function Contour Plot of Z-Shaped Tall and Short Knives (P1/P14 = 10)

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Results

Figure 4-9
Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Two Short Sharp Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-10
Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Three Short Sharp Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-11
Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Two Short Flat Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-12
Stream Function Contour Plot of C-Shaped One Tall and Three Short Flat Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

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Figure 4-13
Stream Function Contour Plot of Deformed Vertical Knife (P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-14
Stream Function Contour Plot of Deformed C-Shaped One Tall and Two Short Flat Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

Figure 4-15
Stream Function Contour Plot of Deformed C-Shaped One Tall and Three Short Flat Knives
(P1/P14 = 10)

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Results

Figure 4-16
Velocity Vectors for the New Seal Designs (Pressure Ratio = 10)

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Results

Structural Analysis
The structural analyses were performed using the ANSYS commercial finite-element analysis
tool, assuming elastic behavior of the seal elements. For these analyses, a displacement of 1.02
mm (0.040 inches) was imposed at the tip of each seal knife. This displacement was estimated to
be that of the rotor as it goes through its various critical speeds during a turbine startup. The
resultant stresses on each knife element and the final deflection shape were studied as a
preliminary evaluation of the strength and flexibility of the baseline seals and the new seal knife
designs.
Figures 4-17 and 4-18 show the elastic deformation contour plots of a baseline seal knife in the
X and Y directions, respectively. Figures 4-19 and 4-20 show the stresses in the X and Y
directions for a baseline seal knife. As can be expected, the baseline vertical seal knife does not
produce any significant deformations in the X direction, deforming principally in the Y direction
as a result of the prescribed displacement boundary condition. The stresses produced in the tips
exceed the materials yield stresses and would lead to the conclusion that this seals tip would be
deformed permanently, as is typically observed in actual seal assemblies. For elastic
deformation, the rub force responsible for the displacement would be distributed uniformly
throughout the seal; therefore, the seal would be able to sustain a large force after deformation.
As noted previously, the relatively high compressive stiffness could be damaging to the shaft as
well as produce a permanent deformation on the seal tip, thus increasing the seal clearance gap
(that is, area).
Figures 4-21 and 4-22 show the deformation of the C-shaped sharp tip seal in the X and Y
directions, respectively. Figures 4-23 and 4-24 show the stresses produced in the X and Y
directions of the C-shaped sharp tip seal. Because of the very small cross-sectional area at the
extreme tip, the deformation is principally local to the sharp tip. This results in negligible
deflections in the X direction for this design. The stresses produced in the tips are also highin
fact, they exceed the materials yield strengthand leads to the conclusion that this seals tip is
deformed permanently.
Figures 4-25 and 4-26 show the deformation of the flat-tipped C seal in the X and Y directions,
respectively. Figures 4-27 and 4-28 show the stresses in the X and Y directions, respectively.
The contact force that produces a deformation of 1.02 mm (0.040 inches) in the Y direction
produces a deformation of more than 1.52 mm (0.06 inches) in the X direction. This analysis
indicates that a flat-tipped C seal with a flat edge would be compliant compared to vertical seals
in a shaft rub situation. Due to the inherent flexibility of C seals, a larger circumferential portion
of the seal would come in contact with the shaft (steps) during a rub. As a result of reduced peak
contact force, damage to the shaft would be reduced or avoided compared to that of a standard
vertical labyrinth. If a rub event occurs under normal operation during which the seal flow path
has high pressure steam, local steam pressure on the rotor would increase and possibly restrain
shaft orbital motion. Even if the contribution is less significant, this feature would not be
available in a vertical seal because of lack of compliance. The primary concern is the high stress
levels on the seal knives, which could lead to failure or significant plastic deformation. Using
advanced materials that allow the seal to withstand large elastic deformations can mitigate or
eliminate this concern.
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Results

Figure 4-17
Vertical Seal Deformation in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip Deflection

Figure 4-18
Vertical Seal Deformation in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip Deflection

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Results

Figure 4-19
Vertical Seal Stress in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip Deflection

Figure 4-20
Vertical Seal Stress in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip Deflection

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Results

Figure 4-21
C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Deformation in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection

Figure 4-22
C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Deformation in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection

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Results

Figure 4-23
C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Stress in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection

Figure 4-24
C-Shaped Sharp Tip Seal Stress in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection

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Results

Figure 4-25
C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Deformation in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection

Figure 4-26
C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Deformation in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip
Deflection

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Results

Figure 4-27
C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Stress in the X Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip Deflection

Figure 4-28
C-Shaped Flat Tip Seal Stress in the Y Direction for an Imposed 1.02-mm Tip Deflection

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Results

The current analysis therefore indicates an advantage to the C-shaped knife with a flat end for the
following reasons:

Flow analysis using CFD shows that the curved seal can change the flow path, depending on
the degree of curvature of the seal. This property can be incorporated into the design process
to establish leakage flow paths that create stagnation points and larger total pressure drops
across each knife, with the net effect of reduced leakage flow. This larger pressure drop is in
addition to that created by the turbulent vortices and other non-isentropic energy conversions
that are present in the baseline seal.

Structurally, the curved flat-tipped C seal is expected to have much more flexibility than a
vertical seal, resulting in reduced damage to itself or to the shaft. In addition, new knife
materials may be used that allow greater elastic deformation of the C seal design, taking
advantage of its inherently more compliant design. For example, fiber-reinforced composites
could be used that allow labyrinth seals to be engineered with custom properties at selected
locations. With this technique, the seal could maintain its flexibility without reaching its
yield stresses or ultimate strength.

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5
CONCLUSIONS

Three new labyrinth seal knife designs with specific features that address leakage reduction and
reduced damage due to potential turbine shaft rubs have been evaluated using computational
fluid dynamics and finite-element modeling. Based on this Phase 1 research, one seal
configuration composed of a number of circular profile knives with a flat tip feature has been
determined to have the best performance based on leakage and seal compliance criteria.
The following are the primary results and conclusions for the flat-tipped C seal design:

Design features for the new seals are based on the following principles:

Smaller clearance gaps result in lower steam leakage levels. While this is true for any
seal, the emphasis in the current research is on achieving and maintaining smaller
clearance gaps for the lifetime of the seal.

Conformal flexibility of a seal is essential to achieving superior performance compared to


a standard vertical seal, especially when the seal must withstand large radial contact
forces caused by shaft rubs.

The following leakage reduction mechanisms in a labyrinth seal were identified:

Turbulent and viscous losses that reduce the total pressure available to induce fluid flow
through the seal.

A rapidly changing path taken by the fluid through a seal, resulting in turbulent eddies
within seal cavities.

Local flow stagnations are a major loss mechanism.

The axial position of the seal knives relative to the steps can be used to reduce leakage
primarily through increased flow stagnation and a steep flow path curvature.

The seal recommended for future studies has a compliant curved profile (flat-tipped C seal)
that could allow for elastic deformation when contacted by the shaft during a rub incident.

Based on flow physics, a curved knife profile can modify the leakage flow path,
particularly directing the flow toward stagnation points. Compared to a baseline seal that
is damaged by a shaft rub, the new design (flat-tipped C + CCC) predicts a leakage
reduction of about 65% for pressure ratios between 2 and 10.

Based on structural analysis, a curved seal with a flat edge shows more flexibility for the
same vertical displacement. Concerns regarding the strength of the seal due to the
bending stresses must be addressed in future research by applying innovative materials
such as reinforced composites.

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Conclusions

Recommendations
It is recommended that subsequent phases of research on these advanced labyrinth seal
configurations involve the following tasks:

Assessment of viable materials and the manufacturing feasibility of the proposed C-shaped
knife configuration, with particular emphasis on achieving the desired elastic deformation
characteristics.

Verification and optimization of the leakage flow reduction achieved with the C-shaped knife
configuration using the existing static test rig at USTI, including the effects of possible seal
deformation following a rub.

Experimental verification of performance improvement derived from the C-shaped knife


configuration in a full-scale rotating test rig, including verification of improved rotordynamic
stability.

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6
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References

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Summary of Calculated Leakage Flows for Various Labyrinth Configurations

32. B. Robic, Experimental and Numerical Analysis of the Effect of Swirl on the Pressure Field
in Whirling Annular and Labyrinth Seals, Doctoral Thesis, Texas A&M University, May
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Labyrinth Seal Flow Fields, J. of Engg. for Gas Turbines and Power, vol. 111, April 1989,
p. 335342.
35. G.L. Morrison, M.C. Johnson, and R.E. DeOtte, Experimental Investigation of an Eccentric
Labyrinth Seal Velocity Filed Using 3-D Laser Doppler Anemometry, Presented at the 1990
ASME Annual Meeting, Dallas, TX, November 1990, FED Vol. 101, Fluid Machinery
Components Book No. G00558, p. 6171.
36. H.L. Stocker, D.M. Cox, and G.F. Holle, Aerodynamic Performance of Conventional and
Advanced Design Labyrinth Seals with Solid-Smooth, Abradable, and Honeycomb Lands,
NASA Contract Report, CR-135307, November 1977.
37. D.L. Rhode and M.J. Guidry, Importance of Labyrinth Seal Through-flow Deflection for
Enlarging Clearance without Increasing Leakage, Tribology Trans., vol. 36, part 3, 1993,
p. 477483.
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Numerical Study of Labyrinth Seal Flow, Paper No. 2005-68224, Proceedings of ASME
Turbo Expo 2005, Reno, NV, June 69, 2005 (to be presented).
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Tennessee, August 2002.

6-3

EPRI Proprietary Licensed Material

A
SUMMARY OF CALCULATED LEAKAGE FLOWS FOR
VARIOUS LABYRINTH CONFIGURATIONS
Appendix A contains results of two-dimensional axisymmetric CFD calculations of leakage flow
for the various seal configurations shown in Figures 3-2 through 3-10. Pressure ratios of 2.0
through 10.0 were used in increments of 2.0. Table A-1 contains the nominal calculation results
in units of kilograms/second flow rate at the five pressure ratios. The column titles describe the
seal configuration and refer to the appropriate figure in Section 3 of the report. Table A-2 shows
the same information as Table A-1 but as percentage difference in predicted leakage relative to
the baseline labyrinth configuration of Figure 3-2. Table A-3 contains the calculation results in
units of kilograms/second flow rate for labyrinth seal configurations that are damaged as shown
in Figures 3-8 through 3-10. The damage corresponds to the increased clearance associated with
a turbine shaft rub event. The final column in Table A-3 is for the undamaged labyrinth seal
configuration shown in Figure 3-7, assuming that, following a turbine rub, the knife shape would
be restored because of the inherent compliance of the design. Finally, Table A-4 contains the
same information as Table A-3 but shown as percentage difference in flow rate relative to the
baseline undamaged labyrinth configuration.

A-1

EPRI Proprietary Licensed Material


Summary of Calculated Leakage Flows for Various Labyrinth Configurations

Table A-1
Nominal Leakage Flow (kg/s) Based on Two-Dimensional CFD Calculation for Seal Geometries Identified in Section 3
Baseline
Tall C-Knife
Tall C-Knife with Tall C-Knife with Tall C-Knife
Tall C-Knife
Design,
with Two
Tall C-Knife with
Two Short CThree Short C- with Two Short
with Three
Two Short
Pressure
Vertical
Short Vertical
Z-Knives Knives, Sharp- Knives, Sharp- C-Knives, Flat- Short C-Knives,
Ratio
Knives
Knives
Vertical Knives (Figure
Tipped
Tipped
Tipped
Flat-Tipped
Across Seal (Figure 3-1) (Figure 3-2) (50% Clearance)
3-3)
(Figure 3-4)
(Figure 3-5)
(Figure 3-6)
(Figure 3-7)
2.0

0.09

0.10

0.06

0.10

0.12

0.08

0.12

0.09

4.0

0.20

0.22

0.13

0.22

0.23

0.16

0.23

0.18

6.0

0.30

0.33

0.19

0.34

0.35

0.24

0.31

0.26

8.0

0.40

0.44

0.26

0.45

0.47

0.31

0.41

0.34

10.0

0.50

0.55

0.32

0.56

0.52

0.39

0.50

0.41

Table A-2
Percent Change in Calculated Leakage Flow Relative to Baseline Vertical Knife Design*

Baseline
Tall C-Knife
Tall C-Knife with Tall C-Knife with
Design,
with Two
Two Short CThree Short CTall C-Knife with
Vertical Short Vertical Two Short Vertical Z-Knives Knives, SharpKnives, SharpPressure
Ratio
Knives
Knives
Knives
(Figure
Tipped
Tipped
(Figure 3-4)
(Figure 3-5)
Across Seal (Figure 3-1) (Figure 3-2) (50% Clearance)
3-3)

Tall C-Knife
with Three
Short CKnives, FlatTipped
(Figure 3-7)

2.0

0.0

13.6

-32.8

14.2

28.8

-10.5

27.9

-0.9

4.0

0.0

11.4

-33.4

13.9

19.8

-16.2

17.4

-10.0

6.0

0.0

11.4

-34.3

13.6

19.1

-19.4

3.9

-13.4

8.0

0.0

11.0

-34.7

13.1

19.5

-21.2

2.1

-15.5

10.0

0.0

10.7

-34.9

12.6

4.4

-22.3

1.6

-16.7

*negative value = reduction in leakage

A-2

Tall C-Knife
with Two
Short CKnives, FlatTipped
(Figure 3-6)

EPRI Proprietary Licensed Material


Summary of Calculated Leakage Flows for Various Labyrinth Configurations

Table A-3
Nominal Leakage Flow (kg/s) Based on Two-Dimensional CFD Calculation of Damaged Seal Configurations

Pressure
Ratio Across
Seal

Undamaged
Baseline Vertical
Knives
(Figure 3-1)

Damaged Baseline
Vertical Knives
(Figure 3-8)

Tall C-Knife with Two


Short C-Knives, FlatTipped, Damaged
(Figure 3-9)

Tall C-Knife with Three


Short C-Knives, FlatTipped, Damaged
(Figure 3-10)

Tall C-Knife with Three


Short C-Knives, FlatTipped, Undamaged
(Figure 3-7)

2.0

0.09

0.24

0.27

0.22

0.09

4.0

0.20

0.52

0.59

0.48

0.18

6.0

0.30

0.79

0.89

0.72

0.26

8.0

0.40

1.05

1.17

0.96

0.34

10.0

0.50

1.31

1.48

1.20

0.41

Table A-4
Percent Change in Calculated Leakage Flow Relative to Vertical Knife Design*
Relative to
Damaged Vertical

Relative to Undamaged Vertical

Pressure Ratio
Across Seal

Undamaged
Baseline Vertical
Knives
(Figure 3-1)

Damaged Baseline
Vertical Knives
(Figure 3-8)

Tall C-Knife with Two


Short C-Knives, FlatTipped, Damaged
(Figure 3-9)

Tall C-Knife with Three


Short C-Knives, FlatTipped, Damaged
(Figure 3-10)

Tall C-Knife with Three


Short C-Knives, FlatTipped, Undamaged
(Figure 3-7)

2.0

0.0

166.8

202.1

142.2

-62.9

4.0

0.0

166.4

200.0

144.0

-66.2

6.0

0.0

165.5

199.2

142.7

-67.4

8.0

0.0

164.4

195.1

141.9

-68.1

10.0

0.0

163.8

197.9

142.1

-68.4

*negative value = reduction in leakage

A-3

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