Recent multiphase-pump developments encountered several rotordynamic issues with smooth balance-piston seals, creating a need to better understand the performance of annular seals under multiphase-flow operation. This paper presents measurements of static and dynamic characteristics of a long smooth seal (L/D = 0.75, D = 114.686 mm, and Cr = 0.200 mm) operating under pure- and mainly air condition in which air is mixed with silicone oil (PSF-5cSt). Tests are performed at a supply pressure of 62.1 bars-a, three rotation speeds (5, 10, 15 krpm), three pressure ratios (PRs) (0.6, 0.5, 0.4), for a range of inlet liquid volume fraction (LVFi) from 0% to 8%. The results are then compared to: (1) the previous test reported by Zhang et al. (2017, “Experimental Study of the Static and Dynamic Characteristics of a Long Smooth Seal with Two-Phase, Mainly-air Mixtures,” J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 139(12), p. 122504) with similar testing condition but a different seal geometry (L/D = 0.65, D = 89.306 mm, and Cr = 0.188 mm) and (2) the predictions from a bulk-flow model developed by San Andrés (2012, “Rotordynamic Force Coefficients of Bubbly Mixture Annular Pressure Seals,” ASME J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power, 134(2), p. 022503).
Results show a significant increase of direct dynamic stiffness KΩ as LVFi increases, especially at low PR. Test results reported by Zhang et al. (2017) has an opposite tendency of KΩ as an impact of increasing LVFi.
Concerning cross-coupled dynamic stiffness kΩ and cross-coupled damping c, the results from Zhang et al. (2017) and the present results agree to the effects of changing speed, PR, and LVFi under pure- and mainly air conditions.
As LVFi increases, direct damping C increases while test results reported by Zhang et al. (2017) showed no significant increase.
Except for the direct dynamic stiffness and the impact of changing LVFi on the cross-coupled dynamic stiffness, the bulk-flow model of San Andrés (2012) predicts decently the tendencies and magnitudes of the rotordynamic coefficients.