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Title: Non-contacting shaft seals for gas and steam turbines
Author: Aubry, James R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 6826
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Improvements upon current gas turbine sealing technology performance are essential for decreasing specific fuel consumption to meet stringent future efficiency targets. The clearances between rotating and static components of a gas turbine, which need to be sealed, vary over a flight cycle. Hence, a seal which can passively maintain an optimum clearance, whilst preventing contact between itself and the rotor, is extremely desirable. Various configurations of a Rolls Royce (RR) seal concept, the Large Axial Movement Face Seal (LAMFS), use static pressure forces to locate face seals. Prototypes were tested experimentally at the Osney Thermofluids Laboratory, Oxford. Firstly a proof-of concept rig (simulating a 2-D seal cross-section) manufactured by RR was re-commissioned. The simplest configuration using parallel seal faces induced an unstable seal housing behaviour. The author used this result, CFD, and analytical methods to improve the design and provide a self-centring ability. A fully annular test rig of this new seal concept was then manufactured to simulate a 3D engine representative seal. The full annulus eliminated leakage paths unavoidable in the simpler rig. A parametric program of experiments was designed to identify geometries and conditions which favoured best-practice design. The new seal design is in the process of being patented by Rolls Royce. A 'fluidic' seal was also investigated, showing very promising results. A test rig was manufactured so that a row of jets could be directed across a leakage cross-flow. An experimental program identified parameters which could achieve a combined lower leakage mass flow rate compared with the original leakage. Influence of jet spanwise spacing, injection angle, jet to mainstream pressure ratio, mainstream pressure difference and channel height were analysed. It is hoped this thesis can be used as a tool to further improve these seal concepts from the parametric trends which were identified experimentally.
Supervisor: Gillepsie, David Sponsor: Rolls Royce plc ; Alstom (Switzerland) Ltd
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Aerodynamics and heat transfer ; Aero engines ; Seals ; Non-contacting ; Secondary Air System