This paper presents the results of an extensive study of subsonic separated flows using a laser Doppler velocimeter. Both a rectangular rearward facing step and cylindrical (axisymmetric) sudden expansion geometry were studied. The basic objectives were to resolve the question of whether a velocity bias error does, in fact, occur in LDV measurements in highly turbulent flows of this type and, if so, how it may be eliminated; map the velocity field (mean velocity, turbulence intensity, Reynolds stress, etc.) including the entire recirculation zone; and compare experimental results with numerical predictions based on the k-ε turbulence model. Measurements were carried out using a one-dimensional LDV operating in forward scatter with signal processing by means of a commercial counter-type processor. Results obtained show that velocity bias does occur in turbulent flows and that it can be overcome by proper data acquisition procedures. The results also indicate that the important mean velocity and turbulence quantities can be obtained with reasonable accuracy using a one-dimensional LDV system. Although the k-ε turbulence model provides a good qualitative picture of the flow field, it does not yield a completely adequate quantitative description. Results obtained here illustrate the discrepancies to be expected and provide a basis for further model development.

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