Centrifugal compressors are increasingly required to operate at higher pressures, speeds, and fluid density. In these conditions, compressors are susceptible to rotordynamic instabilities. To remedy this situation, labyrinth seals have sometimes been modified by using shunt injection. In shunt injection, the gas is taken from the diffuser or discharge volute and injected into an upstream chamber of the balance-piston labyrinth seal. The injection direction can be radial or against rotation. This study contains the first measured rotordynamic data for labyrinth seals with shunt injection. A comparison has been made between conventional labyrinth seals, labyrinth seals with shunt injection (radial and against rotation), and a honeycomb seal. Labyrinth seals with injection against rotation are better able to control rotordynamic instabilities than labyrinth seals with radial injection; however, the leakage is slightly higher. The leakage comparison for all seals demonstrates that the honeycomb seal has the best flow control. Test data are presented for a top rotor surface velocity of 110 m/sec, a supply pressure of 13.7 bars, and IPr = 0.95 (injection pressure is 1.05 = 1/0.95 times the seal inlet pressure). For these conditions, and considering effective damping, the labyrinth seal with injection against rotation is better than the honeycomb seal when the pressure ratio across the seal PR < 0.45. On the other hand, the honeycomb seal is better when PR > 0.45. The effectiveness of the shunt-injection against rotation in developing effective damping is reduced with increasing rotor surface velocity.

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