The boundary layer developing over the suction side of a low pressure turbine cascade operating under unsteady inflow conditions has been experimentally investigated. Time-resolved Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements have been performed in two orthogonal planes, the blade to blade and a wall parallel plane embedded within the boundary layer, for two different wake reduced frequencies. Proper Orthogonal Decomposition (POD) has been used to analyze the data and to provide an interpretation of the most significant flow structures for each phase of the wake passing cycle. To this purpose, a POD based procedure that sorts the data synchronizing the measurements of the two planes has been developed. Phase averaged data are then obtained for both cases. Moreover, once properly sorted, POD has been applied to sub-ensembles of data at the same relative phase within the wake passing cycle. Detailed information on the most energetic turbulent structures at a particular phase are obtained with this procedure (called phased POD), overcoming the limit of classical phase average that just provides a statistical representation of the turbulence field. Furthermore, the synchronization of the measurements in the two planes allows the computation of the characteristic dimension of boundary layer structures that are responsible for transition. These structures are often identified as vortical filaments parallel to the wall, typically referred to as boundary layer streaks.
The largest and most energetic structures are observed when the wake centerline passes over the rear part of the suction side, and they appear practically the same for both reduced frequencies. The passing wake forces transition leading to the breakdown of the boundary layer streaks. Otherwise, the largest differences between the low and high reduced frequency are observed in the calmed region. The post-processing of these two planes further allowed us to compute the spacing of the streaks and make it non-dimensional by the boundary layer displacement thickness observed for each phase. The non-dimensional value of the streaks spacing is about constant, irrespective of the reduced frequency.