Labyrinth seals are a critical component applied across rotating equipment to seal high pressure areas from low pressure areas and prevent contamination of the process. Designed as a non-contacting seal with a precise clearance over the rotor, labyrinth seals directly affect equipment efficiency.
As with all Bearings Plus solutions, labyrinth seals are custom-engineered for each application. Design factors include seal arrangement, operating temperatures, pressures, speed, process make-up, and thermal expansion, among others.
To improve efficiency, particularly in multi-stage centrifugal compressors, Bearings Plus applies thermoplastic labyrinth seal solutions.
The abradable nature of thermoplastics allows a labyrinth seal to be designed to a tighter clearance than a metallic labyrinth seal would be.
If a metallic labyrinth seal were to experience a transient rub during machine start-up, or a hard rub during operation, the teeth of the seal could cause expensive damage to the rotor through wear or galling. A large clearance is therefore designed to avoid shaft contact.
The abradable thermoplastic labyrinth seal can experience rubs without causing rotor damage, as it is both abradable and has anti-galling properties. Smaller clearances can be designed with the thermoplastic material, reducing leakage and improving machine efficiency.
Thermoplastic labyrinth seals can be applied at the impeller eye, interstage and/or balance piston locations.
*Torlon® is a product and registered trademark of Solvay.
†Fluorosint® is a product and registered trademark of the Quadrant Group.