This paper presents an experimental and computational study of the midspan low Reynolds number loss behavior for two highly loaded low pressure turbine airfoils, designated L2F and L2A, which are forward and aft loaded, respectively. Both airfoils were designed with incompressible Zweifel loading coefficients of 1.59. Computational predictions are provided using two codes, Fluent (with k-k1-ω model) and AFRL’s Turbine Design and Analysis System (TDAAS), each with a different eddy-viscosity RANS based turbulence model with transition capability. Experiments were conducted in a low speed wind tunnel to provide transition models for computational comparisons. The Reynolds number range based on axial chord and inlet velocity was 20,000 < Re < 100,000 with an inlet turbulence intensity of 3.1%. Predictions using TDAAS agreed well with the measured Reynolds lapse rate. Computations using Fluent however, predicted stall to occur at significantly higher Reynolds numbers as compared to experiment. Based on triple sensor hot-film measurements, Fluent’s premature stall behavior is likely the result of the eddy-viscosity hypothesis inadequately capturing anisotropic freestream turbulence effects. Furthermore, rapid distortion theory is considered as a possible analytical tool for studying freestream turbulence that influences transition near the suction surface of LPT airfoils. Comparisons with triple sensor hot-film measurements indicate that the technique is promising but more research is required to confirm its utility.

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