Recent experimental work from the present authors demonstrated that interactions between the mainstream and cavity/rim seal flows lead to ingestion mechanisms with a range of length scales. In addition to the (well known) effect of the vane and blade pressure fields, it was demonstrated that the shear layer instabilities between the mainstream and rim seal flows can affect ingress. Building upon these observations and the understanding in the literature, this paper presents a model which relates rotor-stator cavity seal effectiveness to purge flow rate based on turbulent transport. The main assumption is that all length scales of ingress lead to an effective eddy diffusivity. This eddy diffusivity drives ingress across the seal concentration gradient. Following Prandtl’s mixing length hypothesis for eddy viscosity, the model uses an empirical constant representing an equivalent mixing length. This assumption is shown to be sufficient across a limited range of dimensionless flow rates. An extension of the model is presented to account for the reduction in turbulent mixing in the rim seal recirculation region as it becomes washed out with increasing purge flow. The rate at which the effect of the rim seal recirculation region gets washed out is modelled with a purge-to-mainstream blowing ratio term and the volume fraction of the seal occupied by the rim seal recirculation. The differences in volume fraction and blowing ratio between the different experiments in literature are defined by the geometry and flow condition only. By fitting, it is shown that the model is sufficient to capture a wide variety of experimental data in the literature and that of the present authors. The results and the model derivation provide an encouraging first step and a framework towards a model that is sensitized to both geometry and flow conditions.

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