Rim seals are critical in terms of limiting the temperature of highly-stressed engine components but function with a penalty to the power output and contribute to entropy gain stemming from mixing losses in the turbine. Ingress through rim seals is influenced by the presence of rotor blades and stator vanes, and the mainstream flow coefficient in the annulus that determines the corresponding swirl.

This paper presents an experimental study of ingress upstream and downstream of the rotor disc in a 1.5-stage rig with double radial clearance rim seals. Two rotor discs were used, one with blades and one without, and two platforms were used downstream of the rotor, one with vanes and one without. Tests were conducted at two rotational speeds and a range of flow conditions was achieved by varying the annulus and sealing mass flow rates. Concentration effectiveness, swirl and steady pressure measurements separated, for the first time, the influence of the blades and vanes on ingress over a wide range of flow conditions. Measurements on the downstream stator platform provide added insight into the complex interaction between the egress and the mainstream. Measurements of unsteady pressure revealed the presence of large-scale structures, even in the absence of blades. The number and speed of the structures was shown to depend on the flow coefficient and the purge flow rate.

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