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2015Research Report

Flow through Piston Seals in Lubricated Reciprocating Gas Compressors

Dr. Stephen Boedo; Professor; Department of Mechanical Engineering; Rochester Institute of Technology

Maintenance, Reciprocating Compressors

This report serves as a literature review of pertinent experimental and theoretical work pertaining to oil lubrication requirements for double-acting reciprocating gas compressor piston seals. No papers were found which directly address the issue in any quantitative manner. However, it is shown that relevant experimental and theoretical papers pertaining to seal flows in oil-free compressors, hydraulic systems, and engine piston rings, along with empirical guidelines based on field experience, lend support for either an infused oil-gas mixture lubrication model or an entrapped full-film lubrication model. In either model, the experimental and theoretical evidence suggests that the amount of external lubricant supplied to the piston seals is insufficient alone to support the development of a full-film lubrication model.

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Research Report