The current profile loss prediction methods for axial turbine blades usually predict a monotonic increase in profile losses at outlet Mach numbers above 1.0, while linear cascade testing in the literature has revealed a more complex behaviour. An objective of this investigation was to help clarify the flow features that are most influential on the profile losses in the transonic and supersonic regimes. Four linear cascades of turbine blades were investigated both experimentally and computationally, at design incidence. Measurements were carried out over an outlet Mach number range of roughly 0.5 to 1.4, and a Reynolds number range of about 5 × 105 to 1.4×106.

It was found that the profile losses of the four cascades exhibited a loss “plateau”, where the total pressure loss coefficient became approximately constant over a range of outlet Mach numbers spanning the low supersonic range. Cascades of different geometries exhibited different extents of this loss plateau, and a commonly used Mach number correction for profile losses did not capture the behaviour.

In the literature, a relationship has been observed between the base pressure and the profile losses. The base pressure was linked to the losses in the trailing edge wake and in the trailing edge shock system. For this reason, base pressure data were obtained from blades instrumented with a static tap at the trailing edge, and also from computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The results provided insight into the role of the base pressure in the profile losses through the transonic regime. It was concluded from this study that an accurate prediction of the base pressure may serve as a basis for a revised Mach number correction to be applied to the profile loss correlation in the transonic and supersonic flow regimes.

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