Nonlinear turbulence closures were developed that improve the prediction accuracy of wake mixing in low-pressure turbine (LPT) flows. First, Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) calculations using five linear turbulence closures were performed for the T106A LPT profile at isentropic exit Reynolds numbers 60,000 and 100,000. None of these RANS models were able to accurately reproduce wake loss profiles, a crucial parameter in LPT design, from direct numerical simulation (DNS) reference data. However, the recently proposed kv2¯ω transition model was found to produce the best agreement with DNS data in terms of blade loading and boundary layer behavior and thus was selected as baseline model for turbulence closure development. Analysis of the DNS data revealed that the linear stress–strain coupling constitutes one of the main model form errors. Hence, a gene-expression programming (GEP) based machine-learning technique was applied to the high-fidelity DNS data to train nonlinear explicit algebraic Reynolds stress models (EARSM), using different training regions. The trained models were first assessed in an a priori sense (without running any RANS calculations) and showed much improved alignment of the trained models in the region of training. Additional RANS calculations were then performed using the trained models. Importantly, to assess their robustness, the trained models were tested both on the cases they were trained for and on testing, i.e., previously not seen, cases with different flow features. The developed models improved prediction of the Reynolds stress, turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) production, wake-loss profiles, and wake maturity, across all cases.

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