Hot gas ingress through turbine rim seals
: Heat transfer and fluid dynamics

  • Geonhwan Cho

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis experimentally investigates the phenomenon of ingress through gas turbine rim seals. The work focuses on developing experimental and numerical techniques for measuring the required sealing flow levels to purge the wheel-space against ingress and the effect of externally-induced ingress on the surface temperature as well as heat transfer to the rotor. Ingress is driven by a pressure difference between the mainstream annulus and wheel-space cavity resulting from the asymmetric external pressure profile in the annulus and/or the rotation of fluid in the rotor-stator wheel-space cavity. It can be prevented by pressurising the wheel-space through the supply of sealant flow.The University of Bath had measured and shown, for the first time, the thermal effects of ingress on the rotor in the wheel-space for a datum seal (axial-clearance seal) using thermo-chromic liquid crystal. However, as the previously used experimental technique with thermo-chromic liquid crystal was prone to large uncertainties, a non-intrusive temperature measurement technique using an infrared (IR) temperature sensor was developed. The new technique was successfully applied to the Bath one-stage gas turbine test facility and provided a full temperature history of the rotor surface in a transient heat transfer experiment. Moreover, a data analysis method appropriate for transient experiments using the IR temperature measurement technique was developed. The method was used to accurately calculate the heat transfer coefficient and the adiabatic surface temperature based on the full temperature history. A series of numerical experiments was carried out to develop the analysis method and the results from the numerical experiments were used to design new heat transfer experiments for both the 1 and 1.5-stage ingestion rigs of the University of Bath.Gas concentration measurements were made on the stator of the Bath one-stage gas turbine test rig to determine the variation of sealing effectiveness with sealant flow rate for four different seal geometries at design operational conditions. The IR temperature measurement technique was used to determine the effect of ingress on the heat transfer coefficient and the adiabatic wall temperature on the rotor of the ingestion test facility. Concurrent gas concentration measurements were made on the stator to compare the effects of ingress on the two discs (stator and rotor). Comparison between the adiabatic effectiveness on the rotor and the concentration effectiveness on the stator showed that the rotor was protected against the effects of ingress relative to the stator. The sealing air, which was drawn into the rotor boundary layer from the source region, thermally buffered the rotor against the ingested fluid in the core. Subsequently, a thermal buffer ratio hypothesis was developed and shown to be in good agreement with the experimental data. A previously published orifice model was modified so that the sealing effectiveness determined from the concentration measurements in a rig could be used to determine the effectiveness based on pressure measurements in an engine. There was good agreement between the effectiveness acquired from pressure measurement determined using the theoretical model and the sealing effectiveness determined from concentration measurements. It was also shown how parameters obtained from measurements of pressure and concentration in a rig could be used to calculate the sealing effectiveness in an engine.
Date of Award15 Jan 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorGary Lock (Supervisor) & Michael Wilson (Supervisor)


  • ingress
  • gas turbine
  • rim seal
  • sealing effectiveness
  • infrared thermography

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