Research Papers: Other (Seals, Manufacturing)

A Deterministic Mixed Lubrication Model for Mechanical Seals

[+] Author and Article Information
Christophe Minet, Noël Brunetière

Bernard Tournerie

 Institut Prime, CNRS - Université de Poitiers – ENSMA, UPR 3346, Département Génie Mécanique et Systèmes Complexes, SP2MI - Téléport 2, Boulevard Marie et Pierre Curie, BP 30179, F-86962 Futuroscope Chasseneuil, Cedex, France

J. Tribol 133(4), 042203 (Oct 10, 2011) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4005068 History: Received December 16, 2010; Revised September 07, 2011; Published October 10, 2011; Online October 10, 2011

Mechanical seals are commonly used in industrial applications. The main purpose of these components is to ensure the sealing of rotating shafts. Their optimal point of operation is obtained at the boundary between the mixed and hydrodynamic lubrication regimes. However, papers focused on this particular aspect in face seals are rather scarce compared with those dealing with other popular sealing devices. The present study thus proposes a numerical flow model of mixed lubrication in mechanical face seals. It achieves this by evaluating the influence of roughness on the performance of the seal. The choice of a deterministic approach has been made, this being justified by a review of the literature. A numerical model for the generation of random rough surfaces has been used prior to the flow model in order to give an accurate description of the surface roughness. The model takes cavitation effects into account and considers Hertzian asperity contact. Results for the model, including Stribeck curves, are presented as a function of the duty parameter.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Forces applied to the seal surfaces

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Figure 2

Mechanical face seal geometry

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Figure 3

Asperity contact

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Figure 4

Geometry of a mesh element

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Figure 5

Definition of the equivalent film thickness at each element side

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Figure 6

Rough surfaces used in the present study

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Figure 7

Sampling process

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Figure 8

Radial flow rate and mean film thickness as a function of the sampling rate (surface B)

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Figure 9

Influence of the number of correlation lengths in the circumferential direction on the radial flow rate and mean film thickness (surface B)

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Figure 10

Variation in the cavitation fraction

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Figure 11

Pressure distribution in the midplane of the domain at different sliding speeds (surface A)

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Figure 12

Pressure distribution in the midplane of the domain at different sliding speeds (surface D)

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Figure 13

Hydrodynamic load and contact load

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Figure 15

Mean contact pressure

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Figure 16

Mean film thickness

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Figure 18

Stribeck curves

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Figure 19

Comparison of the Stribeck curves to experimental data




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