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Basic Mechanical Seals

Operating principles & fundamentals behind rotary mechanical seals


Centrifugal and rotary positive displacement pumps require controlling of the pumped fluids desire to exit through the stuffing box, the area where the pump shaft enters the pump fluid end. When operating the pumped fluid within the stuffing box sees a pressure higher than the surrounding atmospheric pressure, and on static lift applications; during the priming cycle, the stuffing box will see a pressure below atmospheric pressure i.e., a vacuum. In either operating condition a mechanical seal will virtually eliminate the release of the pumpage to atmosphere and the entrance of air into a stuffing box when under vacuum. A basic mechanical seal is not a complex device. It consists primarily of a rotary seal face with a driving mechanism which rotates at the same speed as the pump shaft, a stationary seal face which mates with the rotary and is retained using a gland or in some pump models an integral stuffing box cover, a tension assembly which keeps the rotary face firmly positioned against the stationary face to avoid leakage when the pump is not in operation, and static sealing gasket(s) and elastomers strategically located to complete the seal assembly. The rotating and stationary sealing faces commonly referred to as primary seal members, are materials selected for their low coefficient of heat and are compatible with the fluid being pumped. Their extremely flat; lapped mating surfaces, make it extremely difficult for the fluid to escape between them. The fluid does however, form a thin layer or film between the faces and migrates toward the low pressure side of the faces. It is this boundary layer of fluid which is used and required to cool and lubricate the seal faces.

To prohibit leakage along the pump shaft through the inside diameter of the rotary and stationary seal faces the mechanical seal assembly uses orings, v-rings, wedges and packing. Commonly referred to as secondary sealing members these components of the seal are selected based on fluid compatibility, temperature, elastomeric qualities, and depending on the type and design of the seal they may perform in either a dynamic or static state. Mechanical seal hardware represents the components required to apply mechanical tension to the rotating and stationary seal faces. This hardware; depending on seal design, can include springs, bellows, retaining rings, and pins. Not to be overlooked, hardware materials must be constructed of suitable metallurgy compatible with the fluid. An appreciation of seal driving hardware is also extremely important when sealing viscous products as ample torque to rotate the seal must be made available when the fluid is at its standing viscosity when starting a pump, and effective viscosity at operating conditions. Mechanical seal selection should never be addressed as simple, easy or standard, as it is this approach which results in inadequate performance. A mechanical seal will only perform as well as all the sealing components combined and any options and auxiliary systems which may be required. Failure to properly address any portion of the mechanical seal chain could result in catastrophic failure, down time, considerable damage and expense, and most importantly personal injury and possible damage to the environment. Specific pumping application requirements will determine the complexity of the seal design to achieve optimum performance. Mechanical seal configurations and options are as vast as pump models and designs. Addressing all the application parameters and fluid behavior characteristics will result in long trouble free mechanical seal service and enhanced pump and process performance.

Mechanical Seal Types

Mechanical seals can be classified into several types and arrangements:

1. PUSHER:
Incorporate secondary seals that move axially along a shaft or sleeve to maintain contact at the seal faces. This feature compensates for seal face wear and wobble due to misalignment. The pusher seals' advantage is that it's inexpensive and commercially available in a wide range of sizes and configurations. Its disadvantage is that ft's prone to secondary seal hangup and fretting of the shaft or sleeve. Examples are Dura RO and Crane Type 9T.

2. UNBALANCED:

They are inexpensive, leak less, and are more stable when subjected to vibration, misalignment, and cavitation. The disadvantage is their relative low pressure limit. If the closing force exerted on the seal faces exceeds the pressure limit, the lubricating film between the faces is squeezed out and the highly loaded dry running seal fails. Examples are the Dura RO and Crane 9T.

3. CONVENTIONAL:
Examples are the Dura RO and Crane Type 1 which require setting and alignment of the seal (single, double, tandem) on the shaft or sleeve of the pump. Although setting a mechanical seal is relatively simple, today's emphasis on reducing maintenance costs has increased preference for cartridge seals.

4. NON-PUSHER:

The non-pusher or bellows seal does not have to move along the shaft or sleeve to maintain seal face contact, The main advantages are its ability to handle high and low temperature applications, and does not require a secondary seal (not prone to secondary seal hang-up). A disadvantage of this style seal is that its thin bellows cross sections must be upgraded for use in corrosive environments Examples are Dura CBR and Crane 215, and Sealol 680.

5. BALANCED:
Balancing a mechanical seal involves a simple design change, which reduces the hydraulic forces acting to close the seal faces. Balanced seals have higher-pressure limits, lower seal face loading, and generate less heat. This makes them well suited to handle liquids with poor lubricity and high vapor pressures such as light hydrocarbons. Examples are Dura CBR and PBR and Crane 98T and 215.

6. CARTRIDGE:

Examples are Dura P-SO and Crane 1100 which have the mechanical seal premounted on a sleeve including the gland and fit directly over the Model 3196 shaft or shaft sleeve (available single, double, tandem). The major benefit, of course is no requirement for the usual seal setting measurements for their installation. Cartridge seals lower maintenance costs and reduce seal setting errors

Mechanical Seals for the Centrifugal Pumps


The most effective method of preventing the leakage of the fluid from the centrifugal pump to the external surroundings is using the mechanical seals. The mechanical seals help sealing the rotating part of the shaft against the stationary part of the pump housing. Let us see more details.

What are Mechanical Seals in Centrifugal Pumps and why they are Required?
In the centrifugal pumps the rotor, on which the impeller is mounted, revolves in the stationary housing of the pump and there is minor gap between the two. The centrifugal pump pumps a variety of fluids and sometimes these fluids can be highly hazardous to the humans and also the environment. The most effective method of preventing the leakage of the fluid from the centrifugal pump to the external surroundings is using the mechanical seals. The mechanical seals help sealing the rotating part of the shaft against the stationary part of the pump housing. Thus the mechanical seals are the devices that form the packing between the rotor and the stationary part of the centrifugal pumps to prevent the leakage of the fluid being pumped by the pump. There are two main parts of the mechanical seals: one is the stationary part, which is connected to the pump housing and the other is the rotating part which is connected to the rotating shaft.
Prior to the mechanical seals, the compression packing like gland packing were used as the sealants though they are still being used in number of applications. The mechanical seals are especially used in the process applications where the pumps handle hazardous chemicals like HCL, sulfuric acid, etc. to meet the safety and the environmental standards as per the federal regulations.

Advantages of Mechanical Seals over Glands (Compression Packing)


The advantages of mechanical seals over compression packing or glands are: 1) Mechanical seals ensures almost zero or very little (as per the regulations) leakage of the fluid from the pump casing to the surroundings. 2) The mechanical seals can sustain high pressures of the fluids and highly corrosive fluids. There is always some leakage from the compressible packing and sometimes they tend to fail under the deteriorating effects of the chemicals, but such problems do not occur with the mechanical seals. 3) There is no friction between the moving parts of the mechanical seal so there is no extra power consumption by the pump. 4) There is no wearing of the shaft or the sleeve on which the mechanical seal is mounted. 5) The mechanical seals are robust components so they require very less maintenance. 6) The mechanical seals are now available in wide variety of designs suitable for number of applications.

Mechanical Seals for Centrifugal Pumps


Parts of the Mechanical Seal
The main parts of the mechanical seals are (please refer the figure above):

1) Rotating and fixed face: The rotating and the fixed faces are the
two vital parts of the mechanical seals. The rotating face is connected to the rotating shaft while the fixed face is connected to the pump housing. 2) Secondary sealants: Between the two faces of the mechanical seal the secondary seals, known as shaft and insert mountings, like O-rings, wedges and V-rings are inserted. 3) The hardware of the mechanical seals like gland and compression ring, springs, pins, bellows etc.

What are Mechanical Seals in Centrifugal Pumps ?


In the centrifugal pumps the rotor, on which the impeller is mounted, revolves in the stationary housing of the pump and there is minor gap between the two. The centrifugal pump pumps a variety of fluids and sometimes these fluids can be highly hazardous to the humans and also the environment. The most effective method of preventing the leakage of the fluid from the centrifugal pump to the external surroundings is using the mechanical seals. The mechanical seals help sealing the rotating part of the shaft against the stationary part of the pump housing. Thus the mechanical seals are the devices that form the packing between the rotor and the stationary part of the centrifugal pumps to prevent the leakage of the fluid being pumped by the pump. There are two main parts of the mechanical seals: one is the stationary part, which is connected to the pump housing and the other is the rotating part which is connected to the rotating shaft. Prior to the mechanical seals, the compression packing like gland packing were used as the sealants though they are still being used in number of applications. The mechanical seals are especially used in the process applications where the centrifugal pumps handle hazardous chemicals like HCL, sulfuric acid, etc. to meet the safety and the environmental standards as per the federal regulations. GN Specialize in solids control equipments manufacture,we have exported mechanical seal centrifugal pump for feeding desander,desilter. to over 20 countries around the world. Contact GN to Get right model Mechanical seal centrifugal pump from manufacture