Compliant plate seals are being developed for various turbomachinery sealing applications including gas turbines, steam turbines, aircraft engines, and oil and gas compressors. These seals consist of compliant plates attached to a stator in a circumferential fashion around a rotor. The compliant plates have a slot that extends radially inward from the seal outer diameter and an intermediate plate extends inward into this slot from the stator. This design is capable of providing passive hydrostatic feedback forces acting on the compliant plates that balance at a small tip clearance. Due to this self-correcting behavior, this seal is capable of providing high differential pressure capability and low leakage within a limited axial span, and robust noncontact operation even in the presence of large rotor transients. Manufacturing of compliant plate seals is a challenging problem and in this paper we describe the development of a novel manufacturing technique called side weld and bend (SWAB). The compliant plates are tightly packed with alternating spacer shims in a straight line fixture and welded to a top plate from the side along a straight line. After removal of the spacer shims, the welded assembly is bent to form an arcuate seal of a desired diameter. The side weld and bend (SWAB) manufacturing method reduces distortion, deformity, differential shrinkage, and other associated problems with welding across gaps between adjacent compliant plate seals as is typical in current manufacturing processes.

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