Previous work has shown that low-stagger contouring near the endwall of a nominally high-lift and high-stagger angle front-loaded low-pressure turbine (LPT) airfoil is successful in reducing endwall loss by limiting the development and migration of low momentum fluid associated with secondary flow structures. The design modification that leads to loss reduction in that study was determined from an intuitive approach based on the premise that reducing flow separation near the endwall will lead to reduced loss production. Those authors also relied heavily upon Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) based computational tools. Due to uncertainties inherent in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions, there is little confidence that the authors actually achieved true minimum loss. Despite recent advances in computing capability, turbulence modeling remains a shortcoming of modern design tools. As a contribution to overcoming this problem, this paper offers a three-dimensional (3D) view of the developing mean flow, total pressure, and turbulence fields that gave rise to the loss reduction of the airfoil mentioned above. Experiments are conducted in a linear cascade with aspect ratio of 3.5 and Re = 100,000. The results are derived from stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) and total pressure measurements inside the passage. Overall, the loss reduction correlates strongly with reduced turbulence production. The aim of this paper is to provide readers with a realistic view of mean flow and turbulence development that include all the components of the Reynolds stress tensor to assess, at least qualitatively, the validity of high fidelity computational tools used to calculate turbine flows.

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