Evaluating the Effects of Transient Purge Flow on Stator-Rotor Seal Performance

Reid A. Berdanier, Eric T. DeShong, Karen A. Thole, Christopher Robak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


As modern engine designs target higher efficiencies through increased turbine inlet temperatures, critical turbine components are at increased risk of damage from conditions exceeding material melting temperatures. In particular, improperly designed underplatform hardware components are susceptible to damage when hot main gas path flow is ingested into the stator-rotor cavity. While all turbines inherently experience transients during operation, a majority of publicly available turbine studies have been executed using steady operating conditions or inherently transient "blowdown" rigs. For this reason, routine transient events are not well understood. To address this need, the present study utilized a combined experimental and computational approach. The test article is a continuous-duration, one-stage test turbine operating with true-scale engine hardware and seal geometries at engine-representative flow conditions. The nature of the continuous-duration facility uniquely supports the direct assessment of transient events through its ability to transition between steady-state operating conditions. The effects of a transient purge flow were investigated in this study to identify general trends for transient events in a full-scale engine. Results from multiple measurement techniques in the wheelspace region show an interdependence of transient purge flow with a thermal lag of the underplatform hardware. Through experiments conducted at different coolant-to-main gas path temperature ratios, the use of pressure measurements as an indicator of fully purged behavior was introduced, and a thermally driven influence on rim seal performance was quantified. The computational results show good agreement with experimental pressure measurements and provide insight into the physical mechanisms that drive the relationship between pressure and sealing effectiveness measurements observed for the tested geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021006
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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