Labyrinth seals are widely used in gas compressors to reduce internal leakage and increase the compressor efficiency. Due to the eccentricity between the rotating impeller and the stationary part as *well as the shaft whirling motion, forces are generated when the leakage flow passing through the cavities and the seals. For a lot of applications with high speed and pressure, these forces can drive the system unstable. Thus, predicting the forces accurately become a very important for compressor rotordynamic designs.
A lot of research and studies has been done to the seals itself, including bulk flow method, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) and test measurement. The seal and leakage flow interaction forces can be predicted relatively accurate. But very few research treat the seal and cavities as one component interacting with the leakage flow and produce the forces. This paper presents results of CFD investigations on the dynamic coefficients of one typical impeller eye seal and front cavity. The CFD results show that large forces are generated in the front cavity due to circumferential uniform pressure distribution, which caused by the downstream labyrinth seal. The forces generated in the front cavity are more than in the front seal.
It was found that the inertia, damping, and stiffness are proportional to average pressure. The cross-coupling stiffness increases with speed with power of 2 while the direct stiffness increases with speed with power of about 1.7.