The present paper discusses the results of a large experimental data set describing transitional boundary layers. Time resolved Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) measurements have been adopted to survey the boundary layer developing over a flat plate under prescribed adverse pressure gradients typical of turbomachinery components. The tests have been performed while varying the pressure gradient, the Reynolds number and the inlet free-stream turbulence intensity (FSTI). Two exemplary cases, referring to bypass and separated flow transition, are discussed by means of principal axis analysis and proper orthogonal decomposition (POD). The POD is used to provide statistical representation of the flow structures and to compute the turbulence production (i.e., the mean flow energy dissipation) due to the dynamical features observed for the different transition types.
Reduced order model representations of the flow field are provided and their contribution to the total turbulence kinetic energy production is isolated. This analysis is closed by the inspection of the eigenvectors of the strain rate and Reynolds stress tensors. For the separated flow case, it is shown that the eigenvectors of strain rate and shear tensor are almost perfectly aligned downstream of the maximum displacement of the bubble. The reduced order model reconstruction of the Kelvin-Helmholtz shed vortices provides the largest part of the overall TKE production. For the high FSTI induced transition, the eigenvectors of the shear and stress tensors do not have the same direction. The loss generation is related to the local maximum Reynolds normal stress in the streamwise direction, induced by the boundary layer streaks and their breakdown.