Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions of film cooling performance for gas turbine airfoils are an important part of the design process for turbine cooling. Typically, industry relies on the approach based on Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes equations, together with a two-equation turbulence model. The realizable k-ɛ (RKE) model and the shear stress transport k-ω (SST) model are recognized as the most reliable. Their accuracy is generally assessed by comparing to experimentally measured adiabatic effectiveness. In this study, the performances of the RKE and SST models were evaluated by comparing predicted and measured thermal fields in a turbine blade leading edge with three rows of cooling holes, positioned along the stagnation line and at ±25 deg. Predictions and measurements were done with high thermal conductivity models which simulated the conjugate heat transfer effects between the coolant flow and the solid. Particular attention was placed on the thermal fields along the stagnation line, and immediately downstream of the off-stagnation line row of holes. Conventional evaluations in terms of adiabatic effectiveness were also carried out. Predictions of coolant flows at the stagnation line were significantly different when using the two different turbulence models. For a blowing ratio of M = 2.0, the predictions with the SST model showed coolant jet separation at the stagnation line, while the RKE predictions showed no separation. Experimental measurements showed that there was coolant jet separation at the stagnation line, but the actual thermal fields obtained from experimental measurements were significantly different from that predicted by either turbulence model. Similar results were seen for predicted and measured thermal fields downstream of the off-stagnation row of holes.

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