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International Journal of Automotive Technology > Volume 12(2); 2011 > Article
International Journal of Automotive Technology 2011;12(2): 233-241.
doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12239-011-0028-6
LUBRICATION CHARACTERISTICS OF SPIRAL GROOVE LIQUID SEALS FOR USE IN THE CARRIER OF A VANE-TYPE EXTERNAL LPG FUEL PUMP
A. S. LEE, C. U. KIM
Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials
ABSTRACT
We analyzed the lubrication characteristics of a design-selected spiral groove liquid seal for the critical component, the carrier, of a rotary vane-type fuel pump developed for external installation on fuel tanks for liquid phase LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) injection (LPLi) vehicles, with the aim of fundamentally improving lubrication performance and so protecting the carrier from early frictional wear damage at its suction face. The main reason for selecting a spiral groove pattern was because the viscosity of liquid LPG is very low, comparable to that of air, and current commercial dry gas seals adopting spiral grooves have been successfully employed in completely noncontacting applications. Utilizing the Galerkin finite element lubrication analysis method, a detailed lubrication characteristic analysis of the seal was performed, and lubrication performance optimization was performed by systematic parameter analyses of the design variables. Compared to the initial reference design, the final optimized spiral groove seal design had a groove depth increased by 66.7% and an equilibrium seal clearance increased by 65.3%. Our model also predicted that under a condition of equilibrium between the closing force of the pumping pressure and the seal opening force, the optimally designed carrier spiral groove liquid seal was capable of maintaining a stable lubricating film with sufficient axial stiffness and thereby demonstrated successful noncontact operation; in addition, leakage through the seal was minimal.
Key Words: External liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fuel pump, Liquid phase LPG injection (LPLi), Spiral groove, Carrier, Liquid seal
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