Performance and efficiency optimization is one of the major tasks in the turbo machinery industry. Therefore efforts for scientific and technical improvements focus on optimization and reduction of losses. Secondary losses are of major interest because of their parasitic character related to stage efficiency and power output. One of these losses is over tip leakage of blades. Common practice is a minimization of this clearance with abrasive/abradable combinations. With this technique the blade tip (abrasive material) can rub into its counterpart (heat-shield, abradable material on casings or liners) and therefore minimize the operating tip-clearance. This technology is well established in compressor and turbine engineering since many years [1]. Field experience shows that abrasive/abradable systems do not always work as intended. In some cases rubbing conditions are reversed so that the intended abradable cuts into the abrasive. Any benefit on operating tip-clearance will then be minor at best or even negative. Rubbing behavior is difficult to predict, especially for new materials or geometries where no experience is available. In close cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (Switzerland), ALSTOM has developed a test rig that allows simulating engine-operating conditions and therefore evaluate abrasive/abradable combinations before actual implementation into an engine. The rig is designed to reproduce circumferential velocities and incursion rates that are typical for gas turbine engines in the compressor as well as in the turbine. Forces and temperatures are measured as quantitative data, visual appearance and metallographic condition of test specimens are recorded as qualitative data that allow a more detailed assessment of material combinations and operating conditions. This paper describes the design of a high-speed wear rig facility to test single blade and fully shrouded rub configurations. In addition the validation of the test rig against real engine experience and knowledge is shown.

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