Extensive numerical analyses and experiments have been conducted to understand mixing phenomena in multistage, axial-flow compressors. For the first time in the literature the following are documented: Detailed three-dimensional Navier–Stokes solutions, with high order turbulence modeling, are presented for flow through a compressor vane row at both design and off-design (increased) loading; comparison of these computations with detailed experimental data show excellent agreement at both loading levels; the results are then used to explain important aspects of mixing in compressors. The three-dimensional analyses show the development of spanwise (radial) and circumferential flows in the stator and the change in location and extent of separated flow regions as loading increases. The numerical solutions support previous interpretations of experimental data obtained on the same blading using the ethylene tracer-gas technique and hot-wire anemometry. These results, plus new tracer-gas data, show that both secondary flow and turbulent diffusion are mechanisms responsible for both spanwise and circumferential mixing in axial-flow compressors. The relative importance of the two mechanisms depends upon the configuration and loading levels. It appears that using the correct spanwise distributions of time-averaged inlet boundary conditions for three-dimensional Navier–Stokes computations enables one to explain much of the flow physics for this stator.

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