An experimental study was conducted to improve the performance of an aft-loaded ultra-high-lift low-pressure turbine blade known as U2 at low Reynolds numbers. This was achieved by manipulation of the laminar-turbulent transition process on the suction surface. The U2 profile was designed to meet the targets of reduced cost, weight and fuel burn of aircraft engines. The studies were conducted on both low-speed and high-speed experimental facilities under the unsteady flow conditions with upstream passing wakes. The current paper presents the low-speed investigation results. On the smooth suction surface, the incoming wakes are not strong enough to suppress the separation bubble due to the strong adverse pressure gradient on the suction surface and the low wake passing frequency, which allows the separation between the wakes more time to re-establish. Therefore, the profile losses of this ultra-high-lift blade are not as low as conventional or high-lift blades at low Reynolds numbers even in unsteady flows. Two different types of passive separation control devices, i.e., surface trips and air jets, were investigated to further improve the blade performance. The measurement results show that the profile losses can be further reduced to the levels similar to those of the high-lift and conventional blades due to the aft-loaded nature of this ultra-high-lift blade. Detailed surveys of the blade surface boundary layer developments showed that the loss reduction was due to the suppression of the separation underneath the wakes, the effect of the strengthened calmed region and the smaller separation bubble between wakes.
Separation and Transition Control on an Aft-Loaded Ultra-High-Lift LP Turbine Blade at Low Reynolds Numbers: Low-Speed Investigation
Zhang, X. F., Vera, M., Hodson, H., and Harvey, N. (February 1, 2005). "Separation and Transition Control on an Aft-Loaded Ultra-High-Lift LP Turbine Blade at Low Reynolds Numbers: Low-Speed Investigation." ASME. J. Turbomach. July 2006; 128(3): 517–527. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.2187524
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