The present paper utilizes a numerical method to investigate the effect of flexible shroud seals, including the forward bending flexible seals and backward bending flexible seals, on aerodynamic performance of high pressure steam turbine stages. At first, the wear performance of flexible seal is analyzed with the Finite Element Analysis method. It shows that wear in flexible strip is so small that only the installation clearance needs to be considered in operation process. Then, by replacing the labyrinth shroud seals with flexible shroud seals, the aerodynamic efficiency, outlet flow angle distributions, and reaction degree distributions in two-stages are obtained. At three installation clearances, interactions between leakage flow and main flow, as well as the flow patterns in flexible shroud seals, are visualized and also compared with the original design case. The numerical results indicate that turbine stages configured with forward bending flexible shroud seals have a very close aerodynamic performance to those configured with conventional labyrinth shroud seals at the same clearance, whereas the turbine stages configured with backward bending flexible seals have lower total-total isentropic efficiency than those with conventional labyrinth shroud seals. By replacing the conventional labyrinth shroud seals with forward bending flexible shroud seals (at the same clearance), the aerodynamic efficiency, outlet flow angles, limiting streamlines, secondary flow patterns in shroud region and reaction degree distributions in stages are almost not affected. Since the forward bending flexible seal allows relatively smaller installation clearance than the conventional labyrinth seal, application of this kind of seal in rotor blade tip gap is much beneficial to achieve lower leakage rate and higher aerodynamic performance in large power steam turbine stages.

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