Advanced seals have been identified as critical in meeting engine goals for specific fuel consumption, thrust-to-weight ratio, emissions, durability, and operating costs. In a direct effort to reduce the parasitic leakage, a high-temperature, high-speed seal test rig with Active Clearance Control (ACC) has been designed, built and validated by the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) in the Netherlands within a collaborative program with Sulzer Metco Turbine Components (SMTC) and Pratt & Whitney (P&W). NLR’s new seal test rig is capable to evaluate seals for the next generation gas turbine engines. It will test air seals (i.e., labyrinth, brush, and new seal concepts) in near gas turbine engine environment conditions of high temperature to 815 °C (1500 °F), high pressure to 2400 kPa (335 psid), high surface speeds to 365 m/s (1200 ft/s). Seal flows for typical engine seal clearances between 0.12 mm (0.005 inch) and 0.65 mm (0.025 inch) can be measured without changing test articles but by using the ACC system. A compressed air facility at the German-Dutch Windtunnel, located at the NLR site, delivers the required compressed clean and dry air. This paper describes the design, the instrumentation, the control system and the validation of the test rig. The rig certification was achieved by validating test measurements using a known three knife-edges stepped labyrinth seal. This paper also addresses the NLR’s CFD and engineering tool development to predict the seal performance.

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