An analysis and evaluation of the capability of k–ε low-Reynolds-number turbulence models to predict transition in external boundary-layer flows subject to free-stream turbulence is presented. The similarities between the near-wall cross-stream regions in a fully turbulent boundary layer and the progressive stages through which developing boundary layers pass in the streamwise direction are used to describe the mechanisms by which the models simulate the transition process. Two representative models (Jones and Launder, 1972; Lam and Bremhorst, 1981) are employed in a series of computational tests designed to answer some specific practical questions about the ability of these models to yield accurate, reliable answers over a range of free-stream turbulence conditions.

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