The recent development and increasing integration of high performance computing, scale resolving CFD and high order unstructured methods offers a potential opportunity to deliver a simulation-based capability (i.e. virtual) for aerodynamic research, analysis and design of industrial relevant problems in the near future. In particular, the tendency towards high order spectral/hp element methods is motivated by their desirable dispersion-diffusion properties, that are combined to accuracy and flexibility for complex geometries. Previous work from the Authors focused on developing guidelines for the use of these methods as a virtual cascade for turbomachinery applications. Building on such experiments, the present contribution analyzes the performance of a representative industrial cascade at moderate Reynolds number with various levels and types of inflow disturbances, adopting the incompressible Navier-Stokes solver implemented in the Nektar++ software framework. The introduction of a steady/unsteady spanwise-nonuniform momentum forcing in the leading edge region was tested, to break the flow symmetry upstream of the blade and investigate the change in transition mechanism in the aft portion of the suction surface. To provide a systematic synthetic turbulence generation tool, a parallelised version of Davidson’s method is incorporated and applied for the first time in the software framework to a low pressure turbine vane. The clean results of the cascade are compared to various levels of momentum forcing and inflow turbulence, looking at blade wall distributions, wake profiles and boundary layer parameters. Low levels of background disturbances are found to improve the agreement with experimental data. The results support the confidence for using high order spectral methods as a standalone performance analysis tool but, at the same time, underline the sensitivity at these flow regimes to disturbances or instabilities in the real environment when comparing to rig data.

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