Analysis of flow field around a ribbed helix lip seal

An Shik Yang, Chih-yung Wen, Chun Shiang Tseng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a direct numerical simulation model has been developed to elucidate the pumping mechanism of a radial lip seal with helical ribs. The flow field around the contact region between the seal lip and the shaft surface in the environment of a pumping-rate test rig, where both air and oil sides are filled with oil initially, was simulated. The streamline pattern and pressure field around the seal lip were examined. Complicate three-dimensional streamline topology was depicted. On the air side, high pressures built up on the windward faces of ribbed helices next to the lip helping to pump oil back to the sump. The vortex generated next to the lip on the oil side rotates such to create an inward pumping effect too. The pumping rates were calculated at shaft speeds, ranging from 2000 to 6000 rpm, and compared to the measured values from the test rig. Good agreement was observed. Both calculated and measured pumping rates increase as the shaft speed increases. The current results demonstrate the promising application of CFD in the design of radial lip seals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
JournalTribology International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Pumping rate
  • Ribbed helix lip seal
  • Sealing mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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