In this paper, a constrained optimization algorithm is formulated and utilized to improve the aerodynamic performance of a 3D peripheral compressor blade cascade. The cascade efficiency is measured in terms of entropy generation along the developed flowfield, which defines the field objective functional to be minimized. Its gradient with respect to the design variables, which are the coordinates of the Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline (NURBS) control points defining the blade, is computed through a continuous adjoint formulation of the Navier-Stokes equations based on the aforementioned functional. The steepest descent algorithm is used to locate the optimal set of design variables, i.e. the optimal blade shape. In addition to the well-known advantages of the adjoint method, the current formulation has even less CPU cost for the gradient computation as it leads to gradient expression which is free of field variations in geometrical quantities (such as derivatives of interior grid node coordinates with respect to the design variables); the computation of the latter would be costly since it requires remeshing anew the computational domain for each bifurcated design variable. The geometrical constraints, which depend solely on the blade parameterization, are handled by a quadratic penalty method by introducing additional Lagrange multipliers.

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