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Relationship Between Vibrations and Mechanical Seal Failures in Centrifugal Pumps

[+] Author Affiliations
David B. Stefanko, Robert A. Leishear

Westinghouse Savannah River Corporation

Paper No. IMECE2005-79176, pp. 5-12; 8 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Process Industries
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Process Industries Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4227-4 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


A reduction of radial vibrations in mechanical seals increases the life of the seals in centrifugal pumps. Mechanical seals consist of two smooth seal faces. One face is stationary with respect to the pump. The other rotates. Between the faces a fluid film evaporates as the fluid moves radially. Ideally, the film evaporates as it reaches the outer surface of the seal faces, thereby preventing leakage from the pump and effectively lubricating the two surfaces. Relative vibrations between the two surfaces affect the fluid film, damage the faces, and decrease the life of the seals. In a series of industrial applications, different techniques were used to minimize vibration, and the life of the seals was shown to significantly increase. The operating speed was controlled in one case, the bearing design was replaced in another case, and the stiffness of the pump was altered in still another case. The common corrective action in each case was a reduction in vibration.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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