The commercial computational fluid dynamics code ANSYS CFX 12.1 has been employed to carry out Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes (URANS) computations to investigate the fluid mechanics of two different rim-seal geometries in a 3D model of a turbine stage. The mainstream annulus, seal and wheel-space geometries are based on an experimental test rig used at the University of Bath. The calculated peak-to-trough pressure difference in the annulus, which is the main driving mechanism for ingestion, is in good agreement with experimental measurements. There is also good agreement between the computed and measured swirl ratios in the wheel-space.
Computed values of concentration-based sealing effectiveness are obtained over a range of sealing flow rates for both an axial-clearance and a radial clearance rim-seal. Good agreement with gas concentration measurements is found for the axial-clearance seal over a certain range of sealing flow rates. Some under-prediction of the amount of ingestion for the radial-clearance seal is obtained.
The computed mainstream pressure coefficient increases progressively with mainstream Mach number in moving from quasi-incompressible experimental rig conditions to the compressible flow conditions encountered in engines. It is shown that the minimum sealing flow rate required to prevent ingestion increases as mainstream Mach number increases. A scaling method is proposed to allow sealing flow rates to prevent ingestion obtained from low Mach number experiments to be extrapolated to engine-representative conditions.