A study of the three-dimensional stator-rotor interaction in a turbine stage is presented. Experimental data reveal vortices downstream of the rotor which are stationary in the absolute frame — indicating that they are caused by the stator exit flowfield. Evidence of the rotor hub passage vortices is seen, but additional vortical structures away from the endwalls, which would not be present if the rotor were tested in isolation, are also identified. An unsteady computation of the rotor row is performed using the measured stator exit flowfield as the inlet boundary condition. The strength and location of the vortices at rotor exit are predicted. A formation mechanism is proposed whereby stator wake fluid with steep spanwise gradients of absolute total pressure is responsible for all but one of the rotor exit vortices. This mechanism is then verified computationally using a passive-scalar tracking technique. The predicted loss generation through the rotor row is then presented and a comparison made with a steady calculation where the inlet flow has been mixed out to pitchwise uniformity. The loss produced in the steady simulation, even allowing for the mixing loss at inlet, is 10% less than that produced in the unsteady simulation. This difference highlights the importance of the time-accurate calculation as a tool of the turbomachine designer.

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