The HEAT™ (High Efficiency Advanced Technology) steam turbine utilizes high reaction technology [1], which is significantly influenced by the effectiveness of sealing between the stages. The thermal-mechanical analysis based clearance design and the combination of labyrinth sealing with abradable coatings offer an effective solution to minimize bucket and nozzle tip leakage through transient and steady state operation of the turbine. The aim of this paper is to describe the clearance design process and the development of abradable-labyrinth seal configurations. The paper describes extensive testing and detailed analysis conducted to evaluate seal properties and behaviors. Properties investigated included corrosion, erosion and in particular, rub characteristics. Rub behavior is investigated in a high temperature, high speed test apparatus designed to simulate clearance changes during transient periods of start-up, shutdown and hot re-start which often result in interference between the sealing components. This paper will discuss the method to predict differential rotor to stator movements and the resulting abradable incursion during the various operating transients. The seal tooth to coating contact is then simulated with component testing for multiple incursion modes (i.e. radial, axial and a combination of the two) and rates. The discussion will also include the application of the clearance design and sealing technology to a reaction type steam turbine.

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