In this study, an effective yet numerically simple approach for a coupled design of the last stage running blade and diffuser is presented. The method applied uses a two-dimensional streamline curvature code combined with a boundary layer solver for the prediction of flow separation within the diffuser. An accurate representation of the diffuser flow is vital for the assessment of the overall performance. Thus, the major influences from the turbine stage on the diffuser flow, i.e., the tip leakage jet and the swirl of the flow, are taken into account. Secondary effects like blade wakes are neglected. The basic capability of the method to correctly represent the flow is demonstrated by a comparison with three-dimensional CFD simulations of a sample configuration. Solid correlation can be found between both cases. For the optimization process, a genetic algorithm is used. Optimization parameters include the blade exit angle and the diffuser contour. The results of the optimization are again scrutinized with the assistance of three-dimensional CFD simulations.

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