Electric submersible pumps (ESPs) utilize grooved-rotor/smooth-stator (SS/GR) seals to reduce leakage and break up contaminants within the pumped fluid. Additionally, due to their decreased surface area (when compared to a smooth seal), grooved seals decrease the chance of seizure in the case of rotor-stator rubs. Despite their use in industry, the literature does not contain rotordynamic measurements for smooth-stator/circumferentially grooved-rotor liquid annular seals. This paper presents test results consisting of leakage measurements and rotordynamic coefficients for a SS/GR liquid annular sdeal. Both static and dynamic variables are investigated for various imposed preswirl ratios (PSRs), static eccentricity ratios (0–0.8), axial pressure drops (2–8 bars), and running speeds (2–8 krpm). The seals' static and dynamic features are compared to those of a smooth seal with the same length, diameter, and minimum radial clearance. Results show that the grooves reduce leakage at lower speeds (less than 5 krpm) and higher axial pressure drops, but does little at higher speeds. The grooved seal's direct stiffness is generally negative, which would be detrimental to pump rotordynamics. As expected, increasing preswirl increases the magnitude of cross-coupled stiffness and increases the whirl frequency ratio (WFR). When compared to the smooth seal, the grooved seal has smaller effective damping coefficients, indicative of poorer stability characteristics.

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