Flow in turbomachines is generally highly turbulent. The boundary layers, however, often exhibit laminar-to-turbulent transition. Relaminarization from turbulent to laminar flow may also occur. The state of the boundary layer is important since it strongly influences transport processes like skin friction and heat transfer.
It is therefore vitally important for the designer to understand the process of laminar-to-turbulent transition and to determine the position of transition onset and the length of the transitional region. In order to better understand transition and relaminarization it is helpful to study simplified test cases first. Therefore, in this paper the flow along a flat plate is experimentally studied to investigate laminar-to-turbulent transition.
Measurements were performed for the different free-stream velocities of 5 m/s and 10 m/s. Several measurement techniques were used in order to reliably detect the transitional zone: the Preston tube, hot wire anemometry, thermography and Laser Interferometric Vibrometry (LIV). The first two measurement techniques are extensively in use at the institute ITTM and by other research groups. They are therefore used as a reference for validating the LIV measurement results.
An advantage of the LIV technique is that it does not need any seeding of the fluid and that it is non-intrusive. Therefore this measurement technique does not influence the flow, and it can be used in narrow flow passages since there is no blockage, in contrast to probe-based measurement techniques.
Further to the measurements, computational simulations were performed with the Fluent® and CFX® codes from ANSYS®, as well as with the in-house code Linars. The Menter SST k-ω turbulence model with the γ-ReΘ transition model was used in order to test its capability to predict the laminar-to-turbulent transition.