To design highly efficient and stable turbomachines, engineers require accurate methods to model seal flows and calculate clearance-excitation forces generated by the eccentric position of the rotor. One of the most widely used methods to predict leakage flow and dynamic coefficients is the use of computer codes developed based on bulk flow theory. In recent years, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling is increasingly being recognized as an accurate assessment tool for flow parameters and dynamic coefficients evaluation as compared to the bulk flow codes. This paper presents computational and experimental investigations that were carried out to calculate flow parameters in a stationary straight-through model labyrinth seal. The main objective of this study is to explore the capabilities of Ansys-CFX, a commercially available state of the art 3D numerical code, to accurately model compressible flow through the seals. The flow behavior is analyzed using CFD and the flow parameters calculated by CFD are validated against experimental data taken for the same seal configuration. The integrated values of leakage flow rates estimated from the computational results agree with the experimental data within 7.6%. This study serves as a benchmark case that supports further efforts in applying CFD analysis in conjunction with automatic design optimization techniques for seals used for compressible media. It was shown that optimization algorithms combined with CFD simulations have good potential for improving seal design.

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