August 2001

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HP Reliability: Improve turboexpander shaft seals and bearings

Virtually all cryogenic turboexpander seals are either close-fitting labyrinth or noncontacting (dry) gas types. Conventional mechanical seals are not generally used; high velocities prohibit use of c..

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Virtually all cryogenic turboexpander seals are either close-fitting labyrinth or noncontacting (dry) gas types. Conventional mechanical seals are not generally used; high velocities prohibit use of contacting-face seals in these machines. However, the generally lower speed hot gas turboexpanders often employ modified mechanical contact seals. With close-clearance seals, the shaft must be closely maintained in its rotating position; flexible shaft design (operation above the first lateral critical) is usually not acceptable. Bearings that maintain the closest shaft alignment are obviously the best for such applications, and for this purpose, close-clearance journal-type bearings are used.

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