This paper represents the results from an experimental investigation of the flow physics behind the difference in the transition zone length indicated by the momentum boundary layer and thermal boundary layer parameters observed on the suction surfaces of gas turbine blades. The experiments were carried out on turbulent spots created artificially in an otherwise laminar boundary layer developing over a heated flat plate in a zero pressure gradient and a favorable pressure gradient. A specially designed miniature triple wire probe was used to measure the streamwise velocity component U, transverse velocity component V and temperature T simultaneously during the passage of the spots. In this paper, the general characteristics of the ensemble-averaged velocity and temperature perturbations, rms fluctuations, and the second moment turbulent quantities are discussed and the influence of favorable pressure gradient on these parameters is examined. When a favorable pressure gradient is present, unlike in the velocity boundary layer where significant velocity fluctuations and Reynolds shear stress occur both on the plane of symmetry and the spanwise periphery, high temperature fluctuations (and turbulent heat fluxes) are confined in the plane of symmetry. The difference in the levels of velocity/temperature fluctuations at these two locations gives an indication of the effectiveness of momentum/heat transfer across the span of the spots. The results of this study indicate that the heat transfer within a spot is inhibited more than that of the momentum transfer at the presence of a favorable pressure gradient. This phenomenon is expected to slow down the development of a transitional thermal boundary layer, leading to a longer transitional zone length indicated by the heat transfer parameters as reported in the literature.

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