In this paper, transition in a separation bubble is examined through numerical simulation. The flow Reynolds number and streamwise pressure distribution are typical of the conditions encountered on the suction side of low-pressure turbine blades of gas-turbine engines. The spatial and temporal resolutions utilized in the present computations correspond to a coarse direct numerical simulation, wherein the majority of turbulence scales, including the inertial subrange, are adequately resolved. The accuracy of the simulation results is demonstrated through favorable comparisons to experimental data corresponding to the same flow conditions. The results of the simulation show linear Tollmien-Schlichting (T-S) instability growth downstream of the point of separation, leading to the roll up of spanwise vorticity into discrete vortical structures, characteristic of Kelvin-Helmholtz (K-H) instability growth. The extent of cross-stream momentum exchange associated with packets of amplified T-S waves is examined, along with details of the time-periodic breakdown into turbulence occurring upon the development of the K-H instability. Reynolds-averaged properties of the separation bubble are presented and provide evidence of the strong three-dimensional nature of the reattachment process.

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