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Advanced Labyrinth Seals for Steam Turbine Generators

[+] Author Affiliations
Ahmad D. Vakili, Abraham J. Meganathan, Sricharan Ayyalasomayajula

University of Tennessee Space Institute, Tullahoma, TN

Stephen Hesler


Lewis Shuster

Reliant Resources

Paper No. GT2006-91263, pp. 1599-1608; 10 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2006: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 3: Heat Transfer, Parts A and B
  • Barcelona, Spain, May 8–11, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4238-X | eISBN: 0-7918-3774-2
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


A new class of knives (C-Shaped) for reduced labyrinth seal discharge has been designed and assessed through two dimensional numerical modeling of the seal’s internal flow passages. Modeling procedures used for the analysis have been previously validated by comparison with static labyrinth seal experiments. The objectives of the new seal are to: 1) reduce flow leakage through the seal and 2) introduce structural flexibility in the knives so that design clearances could be maintained even after rub events during startup. The baseline chosen for comparative evaluation is an N2 packing used in GE steam turbines. The new seals have compliant C-shaped knives instead of the straight knives, found in an N2 packing. The best performing configuration has one tall ‘C’ shaped long knife and three ‘C’ shaped short knives in each stage. It was found that the best configuration at clearances similar to the baseline seal reduces flow leakage by 42%. Two dimensional numerical structural analyses showed that the new seal knife is more flexible than a straight knife. This is also intuitive by virtue of its geometric profile. A non-dimensional geometric parameter correlates with the degree of flexibility in the knife. These results indicate a potential for design of labyrinth seals that maintain lower design clearances throughout their life time by carefully selecting the knives’ geometric parameters and incorporating high performance composite materials. Then, the new design would result in significantly lower steam leakage.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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