Labyrinth seals are due to their non-contact function and their thermal resistance the state of the art in sealing technology for thermal turbomachinery such as jet engines. The purpose of labyrinth seals is to adjust or minimize the leakage between rotor and stator. However, because of transient flight manoeuvres and the resulting mechanical and thermal loads on the components, contact between rotating and stationary parts cannot be ruled out. The aim of this study is to extend the basic understanding of the mechanisms of hot crack formation in the components of a labyrinth seal during the rubbing process. Previous investigations at the Institute of Thermal Turbomachinery have shown that the thermally induced stress caused in connection with the thermal change of the material properties can lead to formation of the cracks in the seal fin. In order to get a deeper understanding of the complex crack initiation mechanisms, it is necessary to carry out fundamental experiments on simplified geometries. For this purpose, the stress conditions of a loaded labyrinth seal are applied to a cylindrical test specimen. It is fixed on both sides and subjected to thermo-cyclic load. ... mehrTo model a rubbing process of a labyrinth seal, the initial temperature of the cycle corresponds to the operating temperature of the rotor in a jet engine and the final temperature corresponds to the contact temperature during the rubbing process. The temperature change causes stress in the specimen due to the rigid mounting. In literature there are analytical considerations regarding the stress-strain curve in the seal fin and a possible pre-damage of the components by remaining tensile stress after the rubbing process. In this paper, these analytical approaches are compared with the test data. Also a residual tensile strength of the seal fin which is still to be tolerated is worked out depending on the temperature load. The stress reduction during heating is very significant and is considered in detail. Due to the high mechanical and thermal loads, the stress reduction is superimposed by relaxation and plastic deformation. For a separate consideration of these basic effects, FE simulations are carried out. The main findings are that stress and strain in the component depends on both the initial and the final temperature of the specimen. The final rubbing temperature mainly influences the remaining tensile stress. With the thus calculated remaining strength of the seal fin a probable crack formation could be determined. The evaluation of this data contributes significantly to the understanding of hot crack formation in labyrinth seal fins and is therefore the basis for the optimization of the sealing system with regard to robustness against rubbing processes.