The performance of the low pressure turbine (LPT) can vary appreciably, because this component operates under a wide range of Reynolds numbers. At higher Reynolds numbers, mid and aft loaded profiles have the advantage that transition of suction side boundary layer happens further downstream than at front loaded profiles, resulting in lower profile loss. At lower Reynolds numbers, aft loading of the blade can mean that if a suction side separation exists, it may remain open up to the trailing edge. This is especially the case when blade lift is increased via increased pitch to chord ratio. There is a trend in research towards exploring the effect of coupling boundary layer control with highly loaded turbine blades, in order to maximize performance over the full relevant Reynolds number range.
In an earlier work, pulsed blowing with fluidic oscillators was shown to be effective in reducing the extent of the separated flow region and to significantly decrease the profile losses caused by separation over a wide range of Reynolds numbers. These experiments were carried out in the High-Speed Cascade Wind Tunnel of the German Federal Armed Forces University Munich, Germany, which allows to capture the effects of pulsed blowing at engine relevant conditions. The assumed control mechanism was the triggering of boundary layer transition by excitation of the Tollmien-Schlichting waves.
The current work aims to gain further insight into the effects of pulsed blowing. It investigates the effect of a highly efficient configuration of pulsed blowing at a frequency of 9.5 kHz on the boundary layer at a Reynolds number of 70000 and exit Mach number of 0.6. The boundary layer profiles were measured at five positions between peak Mach number and the trailing edge with hot wire anemometry and pneumatic probes. Experiments were conducted with and without actuation under steady as well as periodically unsteady inflow conditions. The results show the development of the boundary layer and its interaction with incoming wakes. It is shown that pulsed blowing accelerates transition over the separation bubble and drastically reduces the boundary layer thickness.