In this study, a comparison of two different Kaplan turbine runners with differently shaped turbine blades was performed. The two turbines differed in the selection of the hydrofoil, the main hydrofoil parameters of which had been modified including, the position of maximum thickness and curvature and the inlet edge radius. Both turbines (unmodified and modified hydrofoils) were tested on a rig designed for low pressure model turbine acceptance tests. The effect of blade shape on cavitation inception, development, and intensity was demonstrated using computer aided visualization. Visualization was performed on the suction side of Kaplan runner blade where the shape of the blade determines cavitation inception and development. The modified Kaplan turbine reduced the cavitation phenomena, and as a result, both turbine performance and output increased for the selected operating points. This demonstrates that choosing the right turbine blade shape is key for optimal turbine performance.

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