Internal cooling of the trailing edge region in a gas turbine blade is typically achieved with an array of pin fins. In order to better understand the effectiveness of this configuration, high performance computations are performed on cylindrical pin fins with a spanwise distance to fin diameter ratio of 2 and height over fin diameter ratio of one. For validation purposes, the flow Reynolds number based on hydraulic channel diameter and bulk velocity (Re = 12,800) was set to match experiments available in the open literature. Simulations included a URANS and LES on a single row of pin fins where the URANS domain was 1 pin wide versus the LES with 3 pins. The resulting time-dependent flow field was analyzed using a variation of bi-orthogonal decomposition (BOD), where the correlation matrices were built using the internal energy in addition to the three velocity components. This enables a detailed comparison of URANS and LES to assess the URANS modeling assumptions as well as a flow decomposition with respect to the flow structure’s influence on surface heat transfer. This analysis shows low order modes which do not contribute to turbulent heat flux, but instead increase the heat exchanger’s global inefficiency. In the URANS study, the forth mode showed the first nonzero temperature basis function, which means that a considerable amount of energy is contained in flow structures that do not contribute to increasing endwall heat transfer. In the LES, the first non zero temperature basis function was the seventh mode. Both orthogonal basis function sets were evaluated with respect to each mode’s contribution to turbulent heat exchange with the surface. This analysis showed that there exists one distinct, high energy mode that contributes to wall heat flux, whereas all others do not. Modifying this mode could potentially be used to improve the heat exchanger’s efficiency with respect to pressure loss.

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