Though the importance of curvature continuity on compressor blade performances has been realized, there are two major questions that need to be solved, i.e.
, the respective effects of curvature continuity at the leading-edge blend point and the main surface, and the contradiction between the traditional theory and experimental observations in the effect of those novel leading-edge shapes with smaller curvature discontinuity and sharper nose. In this paper, an optimization method to design continuous-curvature blade profiles which deviate little from datum blades is proposed, and numerical and theoretical analysis is carried out to investigate the continuous-curvature effect on blade performances. The results show that the curvature continuity at the leading-edge blend point helps to eliminate the separation bubble, thus improving the blade performance. The main-surface curvature continuity is also beneficial, although its effects are much smaller than those of the blend-point curvature continuity. Furthermore, it is observed that there exist two factors controlling the leading-edge spike, i.e
., the curvature discontinuity at the blend point which dominates at small incidences, and the nose curvature which dominates at large incidences. To the authors’ knowledge, such mechanisms have not been reported before, and they can help to solve the sharp-leading-edge paradox.
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