This paper presents a new method for predicting the three-dimensional (3D) bending behavior of bristles in brush seals. The model builds on and addresses shortcomings in an earlier two-dimensional bending model. The work was motivated by the need to develop a general 3D solid mechanical model that can ultimately be incorporated into CFD models of flow and heat transfer through brush seals. The iterative method considered here, which is based on linear beam-bending theory, allows relatively large numbers of bristles to be considered with arbitrary imposed aerodynamic forces. Bristle-to-bristle contacts and deflections are considered, as well as shaft and backing ring contacts. The method also allows arbitrary initial bristle packs and lay-angles to be considered, as well as periodic conditions so that the model represents a sector of a brush seal. Other physically important features, such as the so-called 3D-splay and inclined prop effects, are also taken into account. The method described here has been incorporated into a new computer code called SUBSIS (Surrey University Brush Seal Iterative Simulator). Example results from this code are presented that show the bending behavior of initially hexagonally packed brush seals under model imposed pressure loads acting on the bristle tips. The effects of rotor incursions into the bristle pack, increase of the pressure load, and changes in the lay-angle and Young’s modulus are also shown. The results illustrate the expected bending behavior observed in real brush seals. Procedures for coupling SUBSIS with CFD models are also currently under investigation.

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