Seals are an integral and arguably one of the most important components of any pumping assembly. In extreme environments and when dealing with hazardous substances, such as in the case of a nuclear reactor coolant pump, the importance of these mechanical seals cannot be overstated. In such scenarios, knowledge of the complex fluid and solid mechanics involved in safe operation of the seal is absolutely critical.
The PFTL currently performs experiments and modeling to gain insight into the behavior of mechanical seals using a wide array of fluids, pressures, and temperatures. The goal of these studies is to optimize their design and minimize the possibility of accidents in such extreme environments.