Sealing Without Gas Swirl
Honeycomb seals are machined with individual chambers that create the pressure drop needed to slow leakage. Those chambers also disrupt circumferential flow around the shaft, preventing destabilizing forces caused by the gas swirl that is common with labyrinth seals.
Bearings Plus honeycomb seals are engineered using a bulk-flow analysis tool to model the steady state and dynamic performance, optimized for the specific application. Key metrics that are optimized include the required leakage and dynamic coefficients, which are evaluated in a complete rotordynamic analysis of the rotor-bearing system.
From Aerospace to the Industrial Market
Honeycomb seals were initially used in the aerospace industry in air-breathing gas turbine engines as abradable stator components for high-pressure turbine stages. Later, they were used in cryogenic rocket engine turbopumps as a damper seal at the balance piston location.
Eventually the technology was adopted by the industrial market, which primarily focused on applications in high-pressure centrifugal compressors.
Honeycomb seals can be manufactured from a range of materials, including stainless steel, aluminum and plastic – the last allowing for an even tighter clearance.
- Very low cross coupling
- Higher direct damping that labyrinth seals
- More forgiving than labyrinth seals in the event of a rotor-stator rub
- Variety of materials available to serve a wide range of applications
- Capable of sustaining higher temperatures than conventional labyrinth seals
Related Products & Services
Hole Pattern Damper Seals
Hole pattern seals work on a principle similar to the honeycomb seal. Typically, they allow slightly more leakage but can handle higher pressures.
Rotordynamic analysis evaluates bearing and seal characteristics simultaneously to better understand the independent effect of each component.
Squeeze Film Dampers
Used to increase dynamic stability or to shift critical speeds, squeeze film dampers introduce support flexibility and damping in the bearing/support structure.