Ingress is the penetration of a hot mainstream gas in a turbine annulus through the rim seal into the wheel-space between the rotating turbine disc (the rotor) and the adjacent stationary casing (the stator). Purge flow is used to prevent or reduce ingress, and the sealing effectiveness relates the flow rates of the purge and ingress. In this paper, an adiabatic effectiveness is used to relate the temperatures of a thermally-insulated rotor, the purge flow and the ingress. A non-dimensional buffer parameter, Ψ, is used to relate the sealing effectiveness on the stator and the adiabatic effectiveness on the rotor, respectively. This paper reports the first experimental study of the effect of ingress and purge flow on the adiabatic temperatures of both upstream and downstream surfaces of the rotor. Measurements of concentration and swirl over a range of purge have been obtained in wheel-spaces upstream and downstream of the rotor in a turbine rig. In transient heating tests, fast-response thermocouples were used to measure the temperature of the air in the wheel-space core; simultaneously, the temperatures of the upstream and downstream rotor surfaces were determined from infra-red sensors. The extrapolated steady-state temperatures (obtained using a maximum-likelihood estimation analysis) were used to determine the adiabatic effectiveness as a function of purge flow rate. The buffer effect of the purge flow for both wheel-spaces was quantified via comparisons between the variation of Ψ with purge flow rate. It was shown that the sealing effectiveness for the downstream wheel-space was larger than for the upstream. Consequently, and consistent with the theoretical model, the buffering effect of the purge flow was shown to be smaller downstream.