Effects of pressure ratio and rotational speed on the leakage flow and cavity pressure characteristics of the rotating staggered labyrinth seal were investigated by means of experimental measurements and numerical simulations. The rotating seal test rig with turbine flowmeter and pressure measuring instruments was utilized to investigate the leakage flow of the staggered labyrinth seal at eight pressure ratios and five rotational speeds. The repeatability of the experimental data was demonstrated by three times measurements at different pressure ratios and fixed rotational speed. The three-dimensional Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations and standard k-ε turbulent model were also applied to study the leakage flow characteristics of the staggered labyrinth seal at the experimental conditions. The validation of the numerical approach was verified through comparison of the experimental data. The detailed flow field in the staggered labyrinth seal was illustrated according to the numerical simulations. The experimental and numerical results show that the leakage flow coefficient increases with increasing pressure ratio at the fixed rotational speed and is more sensitive to the smaller pressure ratio. The influence of rotational speed on the leakage flow coefficient is not obvious in the present rotational speed limitations. The cavity pressure coefficient in the staggered labyrinth seal decreases and is significantly influenced by the cavity structure along the flow direction.

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