Endwall loss, often termed “secondary loss”, in axial turbines has been intensively studied for many years, despite this the physical origin of much of the loss is not really understood. This lack of understanding is a serious impediment to our ability to predict the loss and to the development of methods for reducing it. This paper aims to study the origins of the loss by interrogating the results from detailed and validated CFD calculations. The calculation method is first validated by comparing its predictions to detailed measurements in a turbine cascade. Very good agreement between the calculations and the measurements is obtained. The solution is then examined in detail to highlight the sources of entropy generation in the cascade, several different sources of loss are found to be significant.
The same blade row is then used to study the effects of the of the inlet boundary layer thickness on the loss. It is found that only the inlet boundary layer loss and the mixing loss vary greatly with inlet boundary layer thickness. Finally a complete 50% reaction stage, with identical stator and rotor blade profiles, is examined using both steady calculations, with a mixing plane model, and the time average of unsteady calculations. It is found that the endwall flow in the rotor is completely different from that in the stator. Because of this it is considered that results from endwall flow and loss measurements in cascades are of limited relevance to the endwall flow in a real turbine. The results are also used to discuss the validity of the mixing plane model.