Experimental results for the rotordynamic coefficients of short (L/D = 1/6) teeth-on-stator and teeth-on-rotor labyrinth seals are presented. The effects that pressure ratio (fluid density), rotor speed, fluid pre-swirl and seal clearance have on these coefficients are studied. Tests were run out to speeds of 16000 rpm with a supply pressure of 17.3 bar and seal clearances ranging from 0.229–0.419 mm. The experimental results are compared with theoretical predictions of a two control volume compressible flow model.

The experimental results show that decreases in pressure ratio and increases in rotor speed are stabilizing while increases in fluid pre-swirl and seal clearance are destabilizing for both seal configurations. The theoretical model correctly predicts the effects of pressure ratio, rotor speed and fluid pre-swirl on the cross-coupled stiffness. It also predicts reasonable values for direct damping for all test conditions. However, the theory incorrectly predicts the effect of seal clearance on these coefficients. Consequently the theoretical predictions are much better for the large clearance seals.

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