Rim seals are fitted in gas turbines at the periphery of the wheel-space formed between rotor discs and their adjacent casings. These seals, also called platform overlap seals, reduce the ingress of hot gases which can limit the life of highly-stressed components in the engine. This paper describes the development of a new, patented rim-seal concept showing improved performance relative to a reference engine design, using URANS computations of a turbine stage at engine conditions. The CFD study was limited to a small number of purge-flow rates due to computational time and cost, and the computations were validated experimentally at a lower rotational Reynolds number and in conditions under incompressible flow. The new rim seal features a stator-side angel wing and two buffer cavities between outer and inner seals: the angel-wing promotes a counter-rotating vortex to reduce the effect of the ingress on the stator; the two buffer cavities are shown to attenuate the circumferential pressure asymmetries of the fluid ingested from the mainstream annulus. Rotor disc pumping is exploited to reduce the sealing flow rate required to prevent ingress, with the rotor boundary layer also providing protective cooling. Measurements of gas concentration and swirl ratio, determined from static and total pressure, were used to assess the performance of the new seal concept relative to a bench-mark generic seal. The radial variation of concentration through the seal was measured in the experiments and these data captured the improvements due to the intermediate buffer cavities predicted by the CFD. This successful design approach is a potent combination of insight provided by computation, and the flexibility and expedience provided by experiment.

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