Control of corner separation in axial compressor blade rows has attracted much interest due to its potential to improve compressor efficiency and the energy utilization in turbomachinery. This paper investigates the effectiveness and mechanisms of boundary layer suction in controlling the corner separation of a highly loaded axial compressor cascade. Numerical simulations have been carried out to investigate the effect of different suction schemes on the loss downstream of the cascade and the change in incidence characteristics with the variation of the suction flow rate. The results show that the effectiveness of flow suction in controlling the flow separation depends heavily on the proportion of the blade for which it is applied. It was found that suction along part of the blade span on the suction surface could effectively remove the separation at the region of the span influenced by the suction slot. However, this resulted in a deterioration of the flow field at other parts of the span. The full span suction scheme on the suction surface not only eliminated the separation of the boundary layer in the middle of the blade, but also significantly improved the flow uniformity near the end-wall.
Despite the improvement in flow uniformity using the full-span suction scheme, a three-dimensional (3D) corner separation still existed due to the strong cross-passage pressure gradient. To improve the flow field uniformity further, two combined suction schemes with one spanwise slot on the suction surface and another slot on the end-wall were designed in order to fully remove both the separated flow on the blade suction surface and the 3D corner separation. It was found that the total pressure loss coefficient was reduced significantly by 63.8% with suction flow rates of 1.88% and 0.82% for the slots on the suction surface and the end-wall respectively. Further work showed that the behavior of the loss coefficient is different as the combination of suction flow rates is changed for different incidence. The cascade loss at high incidence operation can be more effectively reduced with suction control on the end-wall. When implementing combined suction, it is necessary to determine the best combination of suction flow rate according to the incidence level.