Because of the superior sealing characteristics compared to labyrinth seals, brush seals found an increased spread in turbomachinery in recent years. Their outstanding sealing performance results mainly from their flexibility. Thus, a very small gap between the rotor and bristle package can be obtained without running the risk of severe detrimental deterioration in case of rubbing. Rubbing between rotor and seal during operation might occur as a result of e.g. an unequal thermal expansion of the rotor and stator or a rotor elongation due to centrifugal forces or manoeuvre forces. Thanks to the flexible structure of the brush seal the contact forces during a rubbing event are reduced, however the frictional heat input can still be considerable. Particularly in aircraft engines with their thin and lightweight rotor structures the permissible material stresses can easily be exceeded by an increased heat input and thus harm the engine’s integrity. The geometry of the seal has a decisive influence on the resulting contact forces and consequently the heat input. The complex interactions between the geometric parameters of the seal and the heat input and leakage characteristics are not yet fully understood. This paper presents the investigation of the influence of the geometric parameters of a brush seal on the heat input into the rotor and the leakage behaviour. Two seals with different packing densities were tested under relevant engine conditions with pressure differences ranging from 1 to 7 bar, relative surface speeds ranging from 30 to 180 m/s and radial overlaps ranging from 0.1 to 0.4 mm. The transient temperature rise during the rub event was recorded with 24 thermocouples in close proximity to the rub contact embedded in the rotor structure. By comparing the temperature curves with the results of a thermal finite element analysis of the rotor the heat input into the rotor was calculated iteratively. It could be shown that the packing density has a decisive influence on the overall operating behaviour of a brush seal. Furthermore, results are obtained for the heat flux distribution between seal and rotor are shown.

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