The three-dimensional turbulent flow in a compact hydraulic machine elbow draft tube is numerically investigated for several operating conditions, covering an extended range around the best efficiency point. Comparisons with the experimental data are presented as validation. The interest is focused on the experimentally observed pressure recovery drop occurring near the best efficiency point. The flow is first analyzed locally by means of a topological analysis, then globally with an energetic approach. The study provides evidence for the role played by a Werle´-Legendre separation originating in the bend. The separation is due to the contrasting flow angles imposed by the blades, and the angle resulting from the secondary flow.

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