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PAMM · Proc. Appl. Math. Mech. 17, 359 – 360 (2017) / DOI 10.1002/pamm.


Rotor-systems with compliant seals: A comparison of the rotordynamics

using the Muszynska model and Hirs’ lubrication equations
Simon Bäuerle1,∗ and Hartmut Hetzler1,∗∗
University of Kassel, Institute of Mechanics, Engineering Dynamics, Mönchebergstraße 7, 34125 Kassel

This contribution compares two approaches for modelling seal fluid forces in a rotor system with compliant seal support: on
the one hand the non-linear ODEs of the Muszynska model are used. On the other hand Hirs’ PDEs for turbulent lubrication
flow are numerically integrated and an ODE coefficient model is fitted to this data. Simulations are performed with both fluid
models and the results are compared: they show not only quantitative differences in the stability behaviour of the rotor-system
but also qualitative differences in the bifurcation behaviour.
c 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

1 Introduction and Modelling

Compliant seals offer a comparatively new design approach combining low
leakage and low wear properties (e.g. G LAND-seal [1], H ALO-seal [2]).
These advantages can be achieved by a narrowed seal gap along with added
flexibility lowering the risk of rotor-seal rubbing.
Our main interest is investigating the influence of compliant seal properties
on rotordynamics. Therefore, a model consisting of a balanced Laval-rotor
(or Jeffcott-rotor) and a visco-elastically supported stiff seal ring has been
set up. Both rigid bodies move solely in-plane. An incompressible fluid
flows turbulently through the sealing gap in axial direction due to a pressure
gradient. The system can be described by
        Fig. 1: Laval-rotor embedded in a stiff seal ring which
MR 0 DR 0 KR 0 Ff (∆r)
r̈ + ṙ + r= (1) is visco-elastically supported. Taken from [3]
0 MS 0 DS 0 KS −Ff (∆r)
with the position vector r = rR , rS = (xR , yR , xS , yS ) and the mass-, damping- and stiffness-matrices M, D and K.

The subscript R indicates rotor-related and the subscript S seal-related variables and parameters. Ff (∆r) is the fluid force
being dependent on ∆r = rR − rS . In this contribution two modelling approaches for the fluid forces Ff are compared: the
parametric Muszynska-model [4]
mf 0 D̄ 2τ̄ Ωmf K̄ − mf τ̄ 2 Ω2 τ̄ ΩD̄
Ff M (∆r) = − ∆r̈ − ∆ṙ − ∆r, where (2)
0 mf −2τ̄ Ωmf D̄ −τ̄ ΩD̄ K̄ − mf τ̄ 2 Ω2

K̄ = K0 (1 − krR − rS k2 )−n , D̄ = D0 (1 − krR − rS k2 )−n , τ̄ = τ0 (1 − krR − rS k2 )b . (3)

defines non-linear ODEs. Here, mf is the coefficient of the fluid inertia, D0 is the coefficient of the fluid damping, K0 is the
coefficient of the fluid radial stiffness, Ω is the angular speed of the rotor, τ0 is the fluid average circumferential speed ratio
and n and b are empirical parameters [5]. The parameters mf , D0 and K0 are fitted for the present case using Childs analytic
formulas [6].
The second approach under consideration are Hirs’ PDEs for the description of turbulent lubrication flow [7], given by
 
   1+m0  1+m0
H ∂U H n0 m0  Uθ Uθ2 +Uz2 2 +(Uθ −1) (Uθ −1)2 +Uz2 2 
ρ + H∇U U = − ∇p + ρ Rc  1+m  1+m , (4)
RΩ ∂t (RΩ)2 2 Uz U 2 +U 2 2
+Uz (Uθ −1)2 +U 2 2
θ z z

1 ∂H
+ ∇ · (HU ) = 0 and (5)
RΩ ∂t
UZ 1
p|θ,Z=L,t = 0, Uθ |θ,Z=0,t = 0.5 and p|θ,Z=0,t = ∆p − ρ(1 + ξ)UZ2 |θ,Z=0,τ . (6)
Uz0 2
Here, ρ is the density, H is the relative sealing gap, R is the rotor radius, U = (Uz , Uθ )T is the fluid velocity, p is the pressure
and n0 , m0 are empirical constants (c.f. [7]), Rc is the circumferential Reynolds number, L is the seal length and ξ is the
∗ Corresponding author: e-mail, phone +0049 561 804 2169
∗∗ e-mail phone +0049 561 804 2868

c 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

360 Section 5: Nonlinear oscillations

pressure loss coefficient at the entry of the seal (c.f. [6]). Numerical integration of these equations is done with C OMSOL
. The parameters of the following ODEs are then fitted with a linear least square approach to the FE data
which gives
Ff H = −Mf H (∆r, Ω)r̈ − Bf H (∆r, Ω)ṙ − Kf H (∆r, Ω)r. (7)
Note that according to FE simulations all matrices including Mf H turned out to be dependent on ∆r and Ω. Also, the results
are sensitive to parameter changes and show an apparent whirl frequency dependence which has not yet been investigated.

80 5 2 Results
CS-border Mus.
CS-border Hirs Figure 3 shows the results from eigenvalue computa-
60 NCS-border Mus. tion, where the stiffness ratio κ2 = ccRS has been plotted
NCS-border Hirs against the dimensionless rotor angular speed η. Three
3 interesting things can be concluded from this: Compar-



40 ing the associated dashed (non-compliant seal support)

κ2 =

κ2 =

2 and solid lines (compliant seal support), it becomes ap-

parent that the compliant support leads to an increased
20 stable operation range for lower values of κ2 . Secondly,
the movability of the seal ring can be identified as the sta-
bilising mechanism by comparing figures 2 and 3: The
0 0 stability limits converge with increasing stiffness ratio κ
5 7 9 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
and thus less movability towards the limit for a stiff sup-
η η
port. And thirdly, the modelling of the fluid forces has
Fig. 2: Detail Fig. 3: Stability border for compliant seal an influence on the stability border: using Hirs’ model a
from figure 3. support (CS) and non-compliant support higher stability limit for compliant support and a lower
(NCS). Stiffness ratio κ between rotor/ seal limit for stiff support is predicted. Still, the qualitative
stiffness cR,S was plotted against dimen- statement is the same for both modelling cases.
sionless angular rotor speed η. Figure 4 shows an exemplary bifurcation diagram for
κ = 1. Here, the rotor/ seal radius krR,S k normed by
the nominal sealing gap C has been plotted against η.
0.4 The limit cycles are always circular due to system sym-
Rotor Mus. metry. Both modelling approaches show a similar qual-
Seal Mus. itative behaviour for higher η−values: After a Hopf bi-
0.3 Rotor Hirs furcation occurred and the equilibrium stability was lost
Seal Hirs the solutions indicate medium sized radii for the seal and
small sized radii for the rotor. The Hirs model predicts
krR,S k

0.2 amplitudes up to 50% lower than the Muszynska model.

Furthermore, the solutions show a qualitative different
behaviour in the close surrounding of the Hopf bifurca-
0.1 tion: Whereas the Muszynska models shows a supercrit-
HB ical bifurcation, the Hirs model predicts a subcritical be-
haviour thereby diminishing the attractivity of the stable
0 operation range.
14 16 18 20
3 Outlook
Fig. 4: Bifurcation diagram: dimensionless radii krR,S k of
the always circular limit cycles plotted against dimensionless Future work will include investigations of the mentioned
angular rotor speed η for κ = 1. Solid lines: stable limit parameter sensitivity, frequency dependence and ulti-
cycles; dashed lines: unstable limit cycles. mately experimental validation.

[1] A. Messenger, R. Williams, G. Ingram, S. Hogg, S. Tibos and J. Seaton, ASME Turbo Expo 2015: Turbine Technical Conference and
Exposition, Montreal, Canada (ASME, New York, 2015), pp. V008T26A031–V008T26A031.
[2] L. SanAndrés and A. Anderson, J ENG GAS TURB POWER 137.5, 052504 (2015).
[3] S. Bäuerle and H. Hetzler, Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, (Wiley Online Library, Berlin, 2015), pp. 241–242.
[4] A. Muszynska, J SOUND VIB 110.3, pp. 443–462 (1986).
[5] S. Li, Q. Xu and X. Zhang, NONLINEAR DYNAM 47.4 pp. 321–329 (2007).
[6] D. W. Childs, J LUBRIC TECH-T ASME 105.3, pp. 429–436 (1983).
[7] GG. Hirs, J FLUID STRUCT 95.2, pp. 137–145 (1973).
[8] S. Bäuerle and H. Hetzler, Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, (Wiley Online Library, Berlin, 2016), pp. 257–258.

c 2017 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim