Modern day turbomachinery requires the use of annular gas seals to provide flow restriction from high pressure to low pressure regions within the machine. These flow restrictions are critical design points in the overall performance of the machine and directly impact the system-level efficiency. Consequently, understanding the leakage performance of a given seal element as a function of operating pressure, rotor speed, and rotor offset is critical to the successful design of the turbomachine. In the present work, three annular gas seals are experimentally tested on a leakage test rig at GE Global Research (Niskayuna, New York). The test rig is capable of high-speed, high-pressure flow testing and has a radial degree of freedom that enables non-concentric leakage characterization. The leakage performances of a labyrinth, honeycomb and pocket damper seals are compared over a range of inlet pressures and pressure ratios. Analytical tools, including a CFD model and a Bulk Flow Code, are developed to provide leakage prediction and to establish understanding of underlying flow mechanisms. Predictions of the seal leakage are found to be in good agreement with experimental data.

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