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Mechanical Shaft Seal

(TSO-Carbon Seal)


Like the pump seal, the contact type compressor seal has a rotating member and a
stationary member. A floating carbon bushing is between the two members.
Process gas leaks across the labyrinth on the right side of the seal and fills a gas
chamber. This gas is at a lower pressure than the process because of the pressure
drop across the labyrinth. Seal oil is introduced on the bearing side of the seal
faces. Most of the oil goes around the seal back to the reservoir. The oil pressure is
maintained higher than the gas pressure in the gas chamber. The oil lubricates the
seal and about 10 liters per day of oil leaks into the gas chamber. This sour oil is
drained. Note that most of the UOP processes contain some H2S or HCl. If the sour
oil is put back in the oil reservoir, the lube oil can become contaminated at bearing
or seal problems can result.


Liquid Film Sleeve Seal

(TSO-Sleeve Seal)


Bushing type seal. Oil leakage is greater than contact type but there is no normal
seal wear.


Thrust Bearing


Thrust bearings are designed to withstand the axial forces on the shaft. The thrust
pads are designed to pivot to the contour of the shaft.



Thrust bearing. The bearing pads ride against the thrust disc and absorb force in
either axial direction.


Journal Bearing


The journal bearings are designed to withstand the radial forces on the shaft. The
bearing pads can tilt to fit the contour of the shaft. Note the temperature monitors
on the back side of the pads.


C:\Doents and



Compressor Lube Oil System

s/d: 2 out of 3 voting





Centrifugal compressor bearings are typically lubricated by an external pressurized

oil system. Oil is stored in a large reservoir. There are two pumps, one operating
and one spare. On low oil pressure, the spare pump comes on-line automatically.
The two pumps should be driven by different power supplies, typically electric
motor and steam turbine, to insure a supply of oil to the compressor. The spare
pump must be motor driven. A steam turbine will take too long to come on-line.
Note the twin coolers and filters. Also note the three separate low oil pressure
shutdown switches. The shutdown is two of three voting. Two of the switches must
vote to shutdown before the driver is tripped. This avoids spurious shutdowns and
insures a shutdown if one is needed.


Compressor Seal Oil System


If the compressor has an oil lubricated seal, the seal must be supplied with
pressurized oil. The seal oil system is very similar to the lube oil system


Compressor Lube and Seal Oil System


There are many common components between the lube and seal oil systems, such as
pumps, coolers, filters, etc. Many compressors have combined lube and seal oil
systems. Only one reservoir and one set of pumps, coolers, filters, etc., is required.
If the compressor has a high suction pressure or contains a large quantity of H2S
(Hydrocracking Units), the oil systems are kept separate. Otherwise, UOP specified
combined lube and seal oil systems. Today, UOP specifies dry gas seals so only the
lube oil system is required.