Analysis of the Gas Flow in a Labyrinth Seal of Variable Pitch


Chair of Thermal Engineering, Poznan University of Technology, Poznań, 60-965 Poznań, Poland


The paper discusses the results of investigations performed for the segments of straight-through labyrinth seals of constant length. Increasing the number of teeth of a segment resulted in a reduction of the pitch length to obtain the slot seals. The phenomena occurring during gas flow in labyrinth and slot seals differ significantly. They are described with different calculation models. The analysis presented in this paper is related to the change of the tightness and the nature of the flow from a straight-through labyrinth seal to a slot seal. The paper includes the results of experimental research and CFD calculations. Models applied for the Neumann and Scharer labyrinth seals as well as the model of the Salzman and Fravi slot seals were discussed. For the Neumann and Scharer models, correction coefficients for the tested geometry were proposed. Based on the assumptions for the said models and the obtained results, the phenomena responsible for the minimization of the leakage were discussed. The leakage rate in segments of different gap heights depending on the number of teeth and the pressure ratio upstream and downstream of the segment has been analyzed. Based on the experimental data, an optimum number of teeth in the segment for minimum leakage was determined. CFD calculations allowed determining the minimum leakage geometry. The experimental data contained in this paper confirm that the determined optimum pitch range is independent of the pressure drop.