Mechanical Seal Test Rig

Figure 1 Mechanical seal test rig
Figure 2 Illustration of component in the mechanical seal test rig
Test rig description

Figure 1 and Figure 2 show the general view of the test rig designed for condition monitoring of mechanical seals. An auxiliary circulating system was connected to the rig to pressurise the sealed fluid (water in this research) and take away the generated frictional heat. The auxiliary circulating system consists of several components such as (1) water container (2) circulating pumps, (3) radiator, (4) heat exchanger, (5) valves (6) cylinder of nitrogen gas to pressurise the water, (7) regulator on nitrogen cylinder (8) pressurised vessel, (9) pressure relief valve, (10) regulator and pressure sensor on the pressurised vessel and (11) flow meter.


An AE sensor with an operating frequency range from 100 kHz to 1 MHz was employed to obtain the AE signal, and the signal from an AE sensor is amplified and acquired by a 2 MHz high speed data acquisition system with 16-bit resolution. Another 16-channel high speed data acquisition system at a sampling rate of 96 kHz was used to measure the rotational speed of shaft, temperature and sealed fluid pressure from related sensors.

Typical fault simulation

The test rig can simulate various mechanical seals under different operating conditions. The test can explore the influence of sealed pressure and sliding speed on mechanical seal state. For example, the test can be conducted at different sealed pressures from 2 ± 0.05 bar to 8 ± 0.05 bar with the step size of 1 bar. For each load, the test can be operated at different speeds of 120 rpm, 180 rpm, 240 rpm, 300 rpm, 360 rpm, 450 rpm, 600 rpm, 900 rpm, 1200 rpm and 1500 rpm to simulate different tribological regimes of mechanical seals.

Key publications
  • [1] Towsyfyan, H., Gu, F., Ball, A.D. and Liang, B., 2018. Modelling acoustic emissions generated by tribological behaviour of mechanical seals for condition monitoring and fault detection. Tribology International, 125, pp.46-58.
  • [2] Towsyfyan, H., Wei, N., Gu, F. and Ball, A., 2015. Identification of lubrication regimes in mechanical seals using acoustic emission for condition monitoring.

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