Aerostatic pump seal

Onni Leutonen, Petteri Haverinen, Valtteri Vainio, Mikael Miettinen, Jaakko Majuri, Raine Viitala

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

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Process pumps commonly utilize water-lubricated mechanical face seals. The seal faces are commonly silicon carbide or other durable materials. However, the reliance on water flush for the lubrication of the seal poses challenges due to wear. The wear is result of abrasive particles and corrosion problems originating from the leaking water. To address these issues, this paper investigates the feasibility of an aerostatic seal system. The proposed seal comprises two aerostatic seals mounted to a pressure-fed chamber: one facing the pump chamber and the other facing the ambient. Both of the sealing surfaces are flexibly supported and preloaded against the seals. A chamber between the seals is pressurized, which causes flow through the air gaps of the seals towards the ambient and the pump chamber. The flow prevents pump chamber liquid from leaking into, and through the seal. Thus, only seal supply gas is exhausted to the ambient. The feasibility of the seal concept was validated experimentally. The seal air consumption, leakage, and pressures in various parts of the system were measured. The application of this type of seal in the paper industry, particularly for pumping cellulose-liquid mixtures using centrifugal pumps, could reduce the frequency of seal replacements and eliminate water leakage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering for a changing world: Proceedings : 60th ISC, Ilmenau Scientific Colloquium, Technische Universität Ilmenau, September 04-08, 2023
PublisherUniversitatsverlag Ilmenau
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-3-86360-274-1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA4 Conference publication
EventIlmenau Scientific Colloquium - Ilmenau, Germany
Duration: 4 Sept 20238 Sept 2023
Conference number: 60


ConferenceIlmenau Scientific Colloquium
Abbreviated titleISC


  • aerostatic seal
  • pump seal
  • face seal
  • tribology
  • porous gas elements
  • thin-film lubrication


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