The diagram of labyrinth seal and its working principle

Labyrinth-type seals are used to minimize recirculation losses within the compressor. A labyrinth seal consists of a number of teeth (knife-edges) that can be either stationary or rotating Stationary labyrinth teeth are fitted to the compressor stationary components very close to the compressor rotor (see Fig. below). Sealing action is the result flow resistance caused by repeated throttling across the labyrinth teeth. Labyrinth seals are designed so that one of the two adjacent parts (labyrinth teeth and rotor) is relatively soft. The softer material yields on contact without damage to the harder material. Compressor manufacturers select labyrinth seal clearances that are as tight as practical to minimize leakage while avoiding heavy rubbing with the rotor.

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