Advanced seals have been applied to numerous turbine machines over the last decade to improve the performance and output. Industrial experiences have shown that significant benefits can be attained if the seals are designed and applied properly. On the other hand, penalties can be expected if brush seals are not designed correctly.
In recent years, attempts have been made to apply brush seals to more challenging locations with high speed (>400 m/s), high temperature (>650 °C), and discontinuous contact surfaces, such as blade tips in a turbine. Various failure modes of a brush seal can be activated under these conditions. It becomes crucial to understand the physical behavior of a brush seal under the operating conditions, and to be capable of quantifying seal life and performance as functions of both operating parameters and seal design parameters. Design criteria are required for different failure modes such as stress, fatigue, creep, wear, oxidation etc. This paper illustrates some of the most important brush seal design criteria and the trade-off of different design approaches.