Research Papers: Gas Turbines: Manufacturing, Materials, and Metallurgy

Side Weld and Bend Method of Manufacturing Compliant Plate Seals

[+] Author and Article Information
Michael Mack

GE Power & Water,
ST Advanced Manufacturing,
Schenectady, NY 12301

Hrishikesh V. Deo

GE Global Research,
General Electric Company,
Niskayuna, NY 12309

Contributed by the Manufacturing Materials and Metallurgy Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING FOR GAS TURBINES AND POWER. Manuscript received July 1, 2013; final manuscript received July 9, 2013; published online November 1, 2013. Editor: David Wisler.

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 136(2), 022101 (Nov 01, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: GTP-13-1218; doi: 10.1115/1.4025358 History: Received July 01, 2013; Revised July 09, 2013

Compliant plate seals are being developed for various turbomachinery sealing applications including gas turbines, steam turbines, aircraft engines, and oil and gas compressors. These seals consist of compliant plates attached to a stator in a circumferential fashion around a rotor. The compliant plates have a slot that extends radially inward from the seal outer diameter and an intermediate plate extends inward into this slot from the stator. This design is capable of providing passive hydrostatic feedback forces acting on the compliant plates that balance at a small tip clearance. Due to this self-correcting behavior, this seal is capable of providing high differential pressure capability and low leakage within a limited axial span, and robust noncontact operation even in the presence of large rotor transients. Manufacturing of compliant plate seals is a challenging problem and in this paper we describe the development of a novel manufacturing technique called side weld and bend (SWAB). The compliant plates are tightly packed with alternating spacer shims in a straight line fixture and welded to a top plate from the side along a straight line. After removal of the spacer shims, the welded assembly is bent to form an arcuate seal of a desired diameter. The side weld and bend (SWAB) manufacturing method reduces distortion, deformity, differential shrinkage, and other associated problems with welding across gaps between adjacent compliant plate seals as is typical in current manufacturing processes.

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Fig. 1

Schematic of a compliant plate seal

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Fig. 2

Schematic cross section of a compliant plate seal along a plane between two adjacent compliant plates

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Fig. 3

Layout of compliant plates showing changes in cant angle and gaps between adjacent plates from i.d. to o.d.

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Fig. 4

Schematic of a compliant plate (T-shim) and spacer shim

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Fig. 5

Weld fixture body with channel for inserting the shim pack

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Fig. 6

Weld fixture body with alternate spacer shims and T-shims assembled to form a shim pack. The angle of the shim pack is prescribed by the angle blocks. Top plate and end plates are bolted to form the weld assembly.

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Fig. 7

Axial welds between the top plate and the shim pack

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Fig. 8

Removal of the ears of the spacer shims and the T-shims from the welded shim pack

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Fig. 9

Lower region of the spacer shim becomes free at the extended slot cut out and the upper region of the spacer shim provides a controlled gap between adjacent T-shims

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Fig. 10

Pack of T-shims welded to the top plate with controlled gaps between adjacent T-shims provided by the upper region of the spacer shim

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Fig. 11

The top surface and left and right bottom surfaces of the top plate define the bend regions

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Fig. 12

Sample manual bending operation employed in the SWAB process

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Fig. 13

Perspective side view of a top plate and shim pack combination after the bend operation

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Fig. 14

Perspective side view of a top plate and shim pack assembly after the intermediate plate slot has been machined out from the top plate

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Fig. 15

Cross-sectional front view of the welded top plate and shim pack with the finishing operation performed on the seal i.d., IP slot, and the upstream and downstream faces of the shim pack

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Fig. 16

Sample attachment schematics using welds to couple the intermediate plate to the top plate

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Fig. 17

Compliant plate seal with the intermediate plate slot

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Fig. 18

Compliant plate seal with the intermediate plate (illustration only; not actual assembly)




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