The design of the newest aircraft propulsion systems is focused on environmental impact reduction. Extensive research is being carried out with the purpose of improving engine efficiency, enhancing crucial features, in order to decrease both fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. A lot of improvements to fulfill these objectives must be made, focusing on the optimization of the main engine parts through the utilization of new technologies. The leakage flow reduction in the turbo machinery rotor-stator interaction is one of the main topics to which numerous efforts are being devoted.
Labyrinth seals, widely employed in the aerospace field thanks to their simple assembly process and maintenance, can be the means to achieve these objectives.
This paper mainly focuses on the optimization of the labyrinth seal stator part, characterized, in modern Low Pressure Turbines (LPT), by a honeycomb cell pattern.
The first phase of this study deals with the implementation and validation of a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) numerical model, by using the experimental data available in the literature. Discharge coefficients obtained by numerical simulations, performed at different clearances and pressure ratios on both smooth and honeycomb non-rotating labyrinth seals, are presented and compared to the literature data.
Then, for both convergent and divergent flow conditions, the effects on the discharge coefficient due to variations in several cell pattern parameters (i.e. cell diameter, depth and wall thickness) and fin tip thickness are shown. For these analyses the values of clearance and pressure ratio are set at a constant value.