Hydraulic seals are used in aero engines because of their excellent sealing properties. Sealing of oil inside bearing chambers is extremely important as leakage of oil into internal spaces of the engine increases the oil consumption and can result in undesirable effects, ranging from cosmetic to mechanical. A robust dimensioning of the seal is therefore essential. However, the maximum pressure capacity of the hydraulic seal is not always determined accurately enough with many of the existing design approaches, so a high safety factor must be used. It is desirable to keep improving the accuracy of these methods, in particular to handle ever larger pressure differences.

A new dimensionless design method is therefore introduced here to improve the determination of the maximum pressure capacity. This paper reports on a numerical CFD investigation using an axisymmetric Volume-of-Fluid (VOF) method building on the work of Young and Chew [1]. The numerical results are validated with the results of a two-shaft test rig, alongside analytical calculation results. Additionally, a parametric study based on CFD simulations is performed to identify dominant influence quantities. The parameters include the fluid properties of oil, the shaft speeds and the geometry parameters of the seal. Employing a data reduction approach, a new dimensionless number is introduced which allows the presentation of experimental and numerical results of the hydraulic seal in a dimensionless form. Based on this representation, a correlation is proposed, which shows a very promising trend.

This validated CFD investigation and subsequent correlation introduced here show significant potential for the dimensionless description of hydraulic seals and their maximum pressure capacity.

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