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An Experimental Investigation into the Fundamentals of Brush Seal Fluid Dynamics

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  • Full or part time
    Dr James Scobie
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The Turbomachinery Research Centre (TRC) at the University of Bath is seeking a PhD candidate for a project investigating the fundamental fluid dynamic behaviour of gas turbine brush seals. Brush seals are one type of seal typically used to prevent parasitic leakages which result in considerable loss of power delivery, and an increase in specific fuel consumption. Labyrinth seals are most common in turbomachinery, however, the development limits for this type of seal have been reached. Brush seals typically provide an order of magnitude improvement in leakage reduction compared to a labyrinth seal, while better accommodating radial rotor excursions. However, well-known drawbacks such as excessive wear have prevented the application of brush seals, to aerospace gas turbines especially.

Generally gas turbine research has been undertaken using turbine-based rigs running close to engine-operating conditions. The approach of the TRC is to conduct more fundamental work to measure, to compute and, most importantly, to understand the flow and heat transfer using generic, fully-instrumented experiments specifically designed for instrumentation access. The understanding obtained from these fundamental investigations assists the interpretation of results obtained for more specific engine conditions and geometries, and this in turn informs their design.

As part of this PhD a novel experimental facility will be designed and constructed in order to produce unique measurements that will represent the first of their kind. A fluid dynamically scaled brush seal model will be tested to determine fundamental flow characteristics that are currently lacking from the literature. This increased understanding in brush seal behaviour will inform the design of future industrial hardware.

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with Cross Manufacturing Ltd., a leading supplier of brush seal components to the aerospace and power generation industries. Cross will support the project through their expertise designing, testing and manufacturing brush seals for the past 40 years. The student will work closely with the company to perform the experiments and ensure the results are implemented into in-house design codes. There is also an expectation that the research is disseminated through publications, and presented at the annual AMSE Turbo Expo conference.

Funding Notes

Home/EU awards (3 years): Provides tuition fee, £1000 per year Training Support Grant and Stipend (£14.057 2015-6 rate).

Overseas awards (3 years): Provides tuition fee, £1000 per year Training Support Grant, but no stipend.

The successful candidate will ideally have obtained/be predicted to obtain a first class degree with an interest in gas turbine research

How good is research at University of Bath in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 61.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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