This paper considers 3D CFD and structural modelling of brush seals, and investigates the effects of inlet swirl on the bristle pack. The model couples aerodynamic forces generated by CFD to a structural model that includes interaction between bristles. At a critical value of inlet swirl, aerodynamic forces cause circumferential slip of the upstream bristle row. In practice this may lead to instability of the bristle pack and is consistent with anecdotal reports of seal behavior. The critical swirl velocity was reduced when the downstream pressure level was raised, keeping the same upstream total to downstream static pressure difference. This is caused by the increased dynamic head associated with the inlet swirl. Inclusion of a front plate in the seal design does not offer the intended protection to the bristle pack in highly swirling environments. This is associated with highly swirling flow impinging on the bristle tips. Fitting of roughness elements on the upstream face of the front plate could improve stability by reducing swirl of the flow impacting on the bristles. Increasing the bristle diameter and bristle stiffness does not necessarily prevent slip at higher inlet swirl velocities, but reduces the magnitude of slip of the upstream bristles.

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