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Evaluating Carbon Ring Alternatives

August 12, 2016

By Peter Zanini, Waukesha Bearings Corporation

Operators of general-purpose steam turbines have long stated the shortcomings of conventional carbon ring seals. One drawback is wear at the ring’s inner bore, which gradually increases shaft clearance and steam leakage and leads to regular replacement—as often as four times per year. Despite their disadvantages, carbon rings remain the standard in general-purpose steam turbine sealing. 

Because carbon rings are simple to install and have a replacement cost of less than $1,000 for a complete set, the cost of maintaining sealing with carbon rings may seem modest.

However, there are further costs associated with the wear and potential breakage of carbon rings, including higher water costs resulting from steam
losses and degraded bearing performance because of oil contamination and higher operating temperatures. 

For operators looking to reduce steam leakage and increase equipment reliability, two primary alternatives to carbon rings are available on the market: mechanical seals and the floating brush seal.

Read the complete article discussing these two options in the August 2016 issue of Pumps & Systems, on the Pumps & Systems website, or download a PDF below.

Visit the Inpro/Seal website for more information on steam turbine floating brush seals.