The relative importance of convection by secondary flows and diffusion by turbulence as mechanisms responsible for mixing in multistage, axial-flow compressors has been investigated by using the ethylene tracer-gas technique and hot-wire anemometry. The tests were conducted at two loading levels in a large, low-speed, four-stage compressor. The experimental results show that considerable cross-passage and spanwise fluid motion can occur and that both secondary flow and turbulent diffusion can play important roles in the mixing process, depending upon location in the compressor and loading level. In the so-called freestream region, turbulent diffusion appeared to be the dominant mixing mechanism. However, near the endwalls and along airfoil surfaces at both loading levels, the convective effects from secondary flow were of the same order of magnitude as, and in some cases greater than, the diffusive effects from turbulence. Calculations of the secondary flowfield and mixing coefficients support the experimental findings.

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