Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



Excessive heat generated at the face seal contact interface has been recognized as one of main causes of failure of mechanical seals. In the past few decades various efforts have been attempted to remove heat from the contact interface uniformly in order to reduce the interfacial temperature, eliminate thermally-induced failure, and thus increase the life of a mechanical seal. Two innovative heat transfer augmentation techniques - surface texturing and built-in phase change device - have been developed in our laboratory to effectively enhance the heat transfer in mechanical face seal. Surface texturing can increase the surface area, change the near boundary flow structure and enhance the overall heat transfer rate. Experimental measurements and numerical simulations are presented that show 10% reduction of a mechanical seal contact face temperature by means of cylindrically-shaped dimples engraved circumferentially on the outside diameter of a seal ring (stationary, rotating and/or both rings). A commercially available CFD code (FLUENT) is employed to numerically confirm the experimental measurements and optimize the dimples based on their depth-to-diameter ratio, size, arrangement and shapes. Performance of a prototype mechanical face seal with built-in heat pipe is experimentally evaluated. The results demonstrate the feasibility of using phase change to remove friction heating and thus reduce interfacial temperature. In this design, the heat pipe is integrated into the seal mating ring and there is no need to modify the gland design or the flush arrangement. The results show that this design is capable of achieving significantly reduction in the seal face temperature and the friction coefficient. To gain insight into the heat transfer enhancement of the heat pipe seal ring, a one-dimensional steady state heat transfer analysis is applied to predict the ring wall temperature distribution and to estimate the saturated vapor temperature. The effective thermal conductivity of heat pipe ring is estimated. These results of prediction are in good agreement with experimental measurements.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Khonsari, Michael M.