In this paper, an assessment of the effectiveness of non-axisymmetric profiled end-walls in the embedded stage environment at varying inlet conditions is presented. Both numerical and experimental results were obtained in a three-stage model turbine which offers flow conditions representative of embedded blade rows in a typical high pressure steam turbine. The end-wall profile design was carried out using automatic optimization in conjunction with 3D RANS CFD. The design target is to reduce the end-wall losses by reducing the loading in the front part of the passage, which resulted in a single trough close to the blade suction surface in the leading edge region. 5-hole probe traverses and surface flow visualization show that the intensity of the secondary flows is reduced by about 10%, but overall loss is only reduced slightly. Experimental results have been obtained for the cylindrical end-wall and three different trough depths. With increasing depth, transitional effects at the end-walls might come into play, increasing the total pressure loss in the boundary layer region. The effects of the end-wall design is similar at positive and negative incidence, despite the reduced loading in the front part of the passage at negative incidence. At very high negative incidence angles, such as those occurring at the stator tip with rotor shroud leakage flows, the mechanism of secondary flow generation changes, so that a design under nominal inlet flow conditions shows no effect on the exit flow field.

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