Separation Control on a Very High Lift Low Pressure Turbine Airfoil Using Pulsed Vortex Generator Jets

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Journal of Turbomachinery


Boundary layer separation control has been studied using vortex generator jets (VGJs) on a very high lift, low-pressure turbine airfoil. Experiments were done under high (4%) freestream turbulence conditions on a linear cascade in a low speed wind tunnel. Pressure surveys on the airfoil surface and downstream total pressure loss surveys were documented. Instantaneous velocity profile measurements were acquired in the suction surface boundary layer. Cases were considered at Reynolds numbers (based on the suction surface length and the nominal exit velocity from the cascade) of 25,000 and 50,000. Jet pulsing frequency, duty cycle, and blowing ratio were all varied. Computational results from a large eddy simulation of one case showed reattachment in agreement with the experiment. In cases without flow control, the boundary layer separated and did not reattach. With the VGJs, separation control was possible even at the lowest Reynolds number. Pulsed VGJs were more effective than steady jets. At sufficiently high pulsing frequencies, separation control was possible even with low jet velocities and low duty cycles. At lower frequencies, higher jet velocity was required, particularly at low Reynolds numbers. Effective separation control resulted in an increase in lift and a reduction in total pressure losses. Phase averaged velocity profiles and wavelet spectra of the velocity show the VGJ disturbance causes the boundary layer to reattach, but that it can reseparate between disturbances. When the disturbances occur at high enough frequency, the time available for separation is reduced, and the separation bubble remains closed at all times.


This work was sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant No. NNC07IA10I.