In core gas turbines relatively cold air is purged through the hub gap between stator and rotor in order to seal the disc space against flow ingestion from the main annulus. Although the sealing mass flow rate is commonly very small compared to the main annulus mass flow rate, it can have significant effects on the development of the passage endwall flows and on the overall loss generation.
In this paper, the interaction between annulus and rim sealing flows is investigated using numerical simulations of a generic high-pressure turbine. At first, the numerical approach is validated by comparing the results of calculations to measurement data at the design flow conditions. Following that, results from steady and unsteady calculations are used to describe in detail the aerodynamics in overlap-type rim seals and their effects on the blade passage flow. It is found that the flow interaction at the rim seal interface is strongly influenced by the velocity deficit of the rim sealing flow relative to the annulus flow as well as by the circumferentially non-uniform pressure field imposed by the rotor blades. At typical sealing flow conditions, the flow interaction is found to be naturally unsteady, with periodical vortex shedding into the rotor passage.
Finally, the influence of the specific rim seal shape on the flow unsteadiness at the rim seal interface is investigated and the impact on turbine performance is assessed.