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A new approach for the measurement of film thickness in liquid face seals

Reddyhoff, T., Dwyer-Joyce, R.S. and Harper, P. (2008) A new approach for the measurement of film thickness in liquid face seals. Tribology Transactions, 51 (2). pp. 140-149. ISSN 10402004

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Face seals operate by allowing a small volume of the sealed fluid to escape and form a thin film between the contacting parts. The thickness of this film must be optimized to ensure that the faces are separated, yet the leakage is minimized. In this work the liquid film is measured using a novel ultrasonic approach with a view to developing a condition monitoring tool. The trials were performed in two stages. Initially tests were based on a lab simulation, where it was possible to compare the ultrasonic film thickness measurements with optical interference methods and capacitance methods. A direct correlation was seen between ultrasonic measurements and capacitance. Where ultrasonic and optical methods overlap, good correlation is observed; however, the optical method will not record film thickness above 0.72 m. A second set of trials was carried out, where the film thickness was monitored inside a seal test apparatus. Film thickness was successfully recorded as speed and load were varied. The results showed that while stationary the film thickness varied noticeably with load. When rotating, however, the oil film remained relatively stable around 2 m. During the normal operation of the seal, both sudden speed and load changes were applied in order to initiate a seal failure. During these events, the measured film thickness was seen to drop dramatically down to 0.2 m. This demonstrated the ability of the technique to predict failure in a face seal and therefore its aptitude for condition monitoring.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright (c) 2008 Taylor & Francis. This is an author produced version of a paper published in ' Tribology Transactions'. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: Condition Monitoring Mechanical Seals Oil-Film Measurement Ultrasound Computer simulation Optimization Thin films Seals
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Engineering (Sheffield) > Department of Mechanical Engineering (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Mr Christopher Hardwick
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2009 14:24
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 16:58
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1080/10402000801918080
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9164

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