The surface roughness over a serviced turbine airfoil is usually multi-scaled with varying features that are difficult to be universally characterized. However, it was previously discovered in low freestream turbulence conditions that the height of larger roughness produces separation and vortex shedding, which trigger early transition and exert a dominant effect on flow pattern and heat transfer. The geometry of the roughness and smaller roughness scales played secondary roles. This paper extends the previous study to elevated turbulence conditions with free-stream turbulence intensity ranging from 0.2–6.0 percent. A simplified test condition on a flat plate is conducted with two discrete regions having different surface roughness. The leading edge roughness is comprised of a sandpaper strip or a single cylinder. The downstream surface is either smooth or covered with sandpaper of grit sizes ranging from 100 ∼ 40 (Ra = 37 ∼ 119 μm). Hot wire measurements are conducted in the boundary layer to study the flow structure. The results of this study verify that the height of the largest-scale roughness triggers an earlier transition even under elevated turbulence conditions and exerts a more dominant effect on flow and heat transfer than does the geometry of the roughness. Heat transfer enhancements of about 30 ∼ 40 percent over the entire test surface are observed. The vortical motion, generated by the backward facing step at the joint of two roughness regions, is believed to significantly increase momentum transport across the boundary layer and bring the elevated turbulence from the freestream towards the wall. No such long-lasting heat transfer phenomenon is observed in low FSTI cases even though vortex shedding also exists in the low turbulence cases. The heat transfer enhancement decreases, instead of increases, as the downstream roughness height increases.

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