Conference Year



Scroll Compressor, Tip Seal, Bypass Leakage, Leakage Flow, Friction Factor


This study presents an empirical method to calculate the bypass leakage mass flow rate along the tip seal in a scroll compressor. The leakage flows through small axial and radial clearances between the orbiting and fixed scrolls of scroll compressor were previously studied by Ishii et al. In these earlier studies, the pressure decay in the pressurized vessel due to leakage through the axial and radial clearances was measured using a maximum pressure of 3 MPa for CO2 and 0.6 MPa for R22. The Darcy-Weisbach equation for incompressible, viscous fluid flow through the thin rectangular cross-section was applied to calculate the leakage mass flow rate that matched the pressure decay characteristics. The empirical friction factors were determined and plotted on a Moody diagram. As a result, the empirical friction factors for both axial and radial clearance leakage flows have been determined and shown to take on essentially the same value for both CO2 and R22, despite the significantly different working pressures. In contrast, the flow patterns in bypass leakage along the tip seal are so complicated that not even the leakage characteristics are known definitively. No method exists for calculating the bypass leakage mass flow rate. In the present study, a bypass leakage model was constructed, compatible with a production-type scroll compressor with a large cooling capacity. A similar test of the pressure decay in the pressurized vessel due to bypass leakages were conducted with the refrigerant gas R410A. The measured pressure decay characteristics were then simulated by the Darcy-Weisbach equation with the empirical friction factors from our previous study for the leakage flow through the axial clearance. In the present simulations of the measured pressure decay, the complicated flow patterns through bypass clearances were classified into two representative rectangular thin cross-section leakage passes, one with an equivalent width and the other with an equivalent length. Empirical friction factor values for the equivalent pass width and length were determined to match the measured pressure decays. As a result, the calculation of the bypass leakage flow rate along the tip seal in scroll compressors can be accomplished using a simple scheme in terms of the equivalent pass width and equivalent pass length for two representative leakage passes forming a thin rectangular cross-section and applying empirically determined friction factors, .