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Durham University

Department of Engineering

Staff Profile

Mr Andrew Messenger, MEng AMIMechE

Postgraduate student in the Department of Engineering

(email at


I received my MEng degree in Aeronautics from Durham University in 2013. My master’s project focused on the experimental and numerical development of fluidic seals, a new type of aerodynamic seal for turbomachinery applications.

I was Team Principal for Durham University Electric Motorsport (DUEM), and lead the team during this year’s World Solar Challenge in Australia, a 3000km race for solar powered vehicles. More information on our website:

Doctorial Project: Advanced Turbine Sealing Technologies

Steam turbines are used to provide the majority of electricity today, whether as part of a traditional fossil fuel, nuclear or part of a combined cycle plant. In all types of turbine there is a proportion of fluid that leaks around the rotor, and hence produces no useful work. In steam turbines labyrinth seals are used to reduce the leakage flow; although leakage flows of around 1% of total flow are common. For a typical 600MW generator set, this leakage flow could represent a loss of 6MW.

A new advanced sealing concept has been proposed by Alstom Power for steam turbines. The new seal promises to significantly reduce leakage flow and could enable the turbine to be operated in a flexible manner.

The ultimate aim of this doctoral project is to bring this promising idea to a state where it can be deployed in real steam turbines. The first step is to complete the manufacture and installation of this simple test rig, and collect experimental results that show the feasibility of the new sealing concept. A key aspect of the PhD is the integration of modelling and experimental work.

Selected Publications

Conference Paper

  • Messenger, Andrew, Williams, Richard, Ingram, Grant, Hogg, Simon, Tibos, Stacie, Seaton, Jon & Charnley, Bernard (2017), Demonstration of a Dynamic Clearance Seal in a Rotating Test Facility, 8: ASME Turbo Expo 2017: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition. Charlotte, NC, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), New York, V008T29A030.

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