An experimental investigation was conducted to determine the geometry-leakage relationship for advanced, stepped labyrinth seals. A unique, variable-geometry water test facility was constructed and used to acquire leakage resistance measurements for two-dimensional, planar models. Flow visualization techniques were also used to assist in identifying and understanding the turbulence generating flow patterns. It was found that contoured surfaces and restrictor tooth leading-edge shapes of proper dimensions can be incorporated into the cavity geometry to reduce seal leakage. Specifically, the combination of a sloping surface and a curved surface on the rotor within the labyrinth cavity gave significant improvement.

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