The effects of free-stream turbulence intensity (FSTI) on the transition process of a pressure-induced laminar separation bubble have been studied for different Reynolds numbers (Re) by means of time-resolved (TR) PIV. Measurements have been performed along a flat plate installed within a double-contoured test section, designed to produce an adverse pressure gradient typical of ultra-high-lift turbine blade profiles. A test matrix spanning 3 FSTI levels and 3 Reynolds numbers has been considered allowing estimation of cross effects of these parameters on the instability mechanisms driving the separated flow transition process. Boundary layer integral parameters, spatial growth rate and saturation level of velocity fluctuations are discussed for the different cases in order to characterize the base flow response as well as the time-mean properties of the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability. The inspection of the instantaneous velocity vector maps highlights the dynamics of the large-scale structures shed near the bubble maximum displacement, as well as the low-frequency motion of the fore part of the separated shear layer. Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) has been implemented to reduce the large amount of data for each condition allowing a rapid evaluation of the group velocity, spatial wavelength and dominant frequency of the vortex shedding process. The dimensionless shedding wave number parameter makes evident that the modification of the shear layer thickness at separation due to Reynolds number variation mainly drives the length scale of the rollup vortices, while higher FSTI levels force the onset of the shedding phenomenon to occur upstream due to the higher velocity fluctuations penetrating into the separating boundary layer.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 23, 2017
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