The flow behavior through a brush seal has been investigated by developing a flow analysis procedure with a porous medium approach. In order to increase the brush seal performance and use at more severe operating conditions, the complex flow in the bristle pack has become the major concern affecting seal features such as blow-down, hang-up, hysteresis and bristle flutter. In this study, an axi-symmetric CFD model is employed to calibrate anisotropic permeability coefficients for the bristle pack based on available experimental data; leakage, axial pressure on the rotor surface and radial pressure on the backing plate. A simplified form of the force balance equation is introduced for the flow in the porous bristle pack. Different sets of permeability coefficients are defined for fence height region below the seal backing plate and the upper region of the seal to correlate the different physical structures and behavior of these regions during operation. The upper region is subject to more stiffening due to backing plate support while fence height region is free to spread and bend in the axial direction. It is found that flow resistance for upper region should be 20% higher than fence height region in order to match the experimental pressure within the bristle pack. Analysis results prove that the brush seal is well represented as a porous medium with this approach. Based on the model developed, characteristic flow and pressure fields in the entire bristle pack have been explored.

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