Design of an improved turbine rim-seal

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Rim seals are fitted in gas turbines at the periphery of the wheel-space formed between rotor disks and their adjacent casings. These seals, also called platform overlap seals, reduce the ingress of hot gases which can limit the life of highly stressed components in the engine. This paper describes the development of a new, patented rim-seal concept showing improved performance relative to a reference engine design, using unsteady Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) computations of a turbine stage at engine conditions. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) study was limited to a small number of purge-flow rates due to computational time and cost, and the computations were validated experimentally at a lower rotational Reynolds number and in conditions under incompressible flow. The new rim seal features a stator-side angel wing and two buffer cavities between outer and inner seals: the angel-wing promotes a counter-rotating vortex to reduce the effect of the ingress on the stator; the two buffer cavities are shown to attenuate the circumferential pressure asymmetries of the fluid ingested from the mainstream annulus. Rotor disk pumping is exploited to reduce the sealing flow rate required to prevent ingress, with the rotor boundary layer also providing protective cooling. Measurements of gas concentration and swirl ratio, determined from static and total pressure, were used to assess the performance of the new seal concept relative to a benchmark generic seal. The radial variation of concentration through the seal was measured in the experiments and these data captured the improvements due to the intermediate buffer cavities predicted by the CFD. This successful design approach is a potent combination of insight provided by computation, and the flexibility and expedience provided by experiment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number022503
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power: Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Early online date1 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2016


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