The leading edge region of turbomachinery blading in the vicinity of the endwalls is typically characterized by an abrupt increase in the inlet flow angle and a reduction in total pressure associated with endwall boundary layer flow. Conventional two-dimensional cascade analysis of the airfoil sections at the endwalls indicates large leading edge loadings, which are apparently detrimental to the performance. However, experimental data exist that suggest that cascade leading edge loading conditions are not nearly as severe as those indicated by a two-dimensional cascade analysis. This discrepancy between two-dimensional cascade analyses and experimental measurements has generally been attributed to inviscid three-dimensional effects. This article reports on two and three-dimensional calculations of the flow within two axial-flow compressor stators operating near their design points. The computational results of the three-dimensional analysis reveal a significant three-dimensional relief near the casing endwall that is absent in the two-dimensional calculations. The calculated inviscid three-dimensional relief at the endwall is substantiated by airfoil surface static pressure measurements on low-speed research compressor blading designed to model the flow in the high-speed compressor. A strong spanwise flow toward the endwall along the leading edge on the suction surface of the airfoil is responsible for the relief in the leading edge loading at the endwall. This radial migration of flow results in a more uniform spanwise loading compared to that predicted by two-dimensional calculations.

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