This paper presents a series of experiments on the Aerostatic Seal, a dynamic clearance seal for steam turbine application first described at the 2015 ASME Turbo Expo (Paper Number GT2015-43471). This dynamic clearance seal moves with rotor excursions and so has the potential to deliver a smaller clearance than traditional seals. The concept is an extension of the retractable seal design which is widely used in existing steam turbines.
The experimental program was carried out in a low cost static test facility using an aerostatic seal design. The seal exhibited a dynamic clearance response and will therefore respond to rotor excursions. 3D CFD was also used to aid the understanding of flow features not captured by the analytical design tool. Adjustments to both the design process and to future seal designs are proposed in the body of the paper.
This paper therefore describes an experimental proof of concept for the aerostatic seal and paves the way for future development in rotating facilities.