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2017Research Report

Dry Gas Seal Reliability: A Study of the Effects of Liquid Contamination on Seal Performance

Meera Day Towler, Timothy C. Allison, Ph.D., - Southwest Research Institute

Analysis, Automation/Condition Monitoring, Maintenance

The aim of this study is to improve reliability of dry gas seals in natural gas service through a better understanding of the effects of liquid contamination in dry gas seals. While API 692, currently under development, aims to provide comprehensive recommendations for dry gas seal systems design and operation in order to improve dry gas seal operation, the objective of this study was to specifically study liquid contamination reports and findings in order to examine common liquid contamination failure and success modes and draw conclusions about reliability. In addition, the purpose of this paper is not intended to assign blame to any party for any particular type of failure, but rather to examine and highlight the technical challenges and issues that most often result in performance issues. This report first presents an overview of dry gas seals and their associated support systems. Findings from a previous GMRC project that motivated this research are included. Next, it describes the data collection process for better understanding of liquid-induced failures and outlines a classification system for root causes due to liquid contamination. Finally, it presents a statistical analysis of the failure data collected and presents suggestions for avoiding common failure modes.

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