Vortex generator jets (VGJs) have been found to be an effective method of active separation control on the suction side of a low pressure turbine (LPT) blade at low Reynolds numbers. The flow mechanisms responsible for this control were studied and documented in order to provide a basis for future improvements in LPT design. Data were collected using a stereo PIV system that enabled all three components of velocity to be measured. Steady VGJs were injected into a laminar boundary layer on a flat plate (non-separating boundary layer) in order to more fully understand the characteristics and behavior of the produced vortices. Both normal (injected normal to the wall) and angled (injected at 30° pitch and 90° skew angles to the freestream) jets were studied. The steady jets were found to create vortices that swept the low momentum fluid up from the boundary layer while transporting high momentum freestream fluid towards the wall, a phenomenon that provides the ingredients for flow control. Pulsed VGJs were then injected on a flat plate with an applied adverse pressure gradient equivalent to that experienced by a commonly tested LPT blade. This configuration was used to study the effectiveness of the flow control exhibited by both normal and angled jets on a separating boundary layer. Time averaged results showed similar boundary layer separation reduction for both normal and angled jets; however, individual characteristics suggested that the control mechanism of the two injection angles is distinct. Steady and pulsed VGJs were then applied to a new aggressive LPT blade design to explore the effect of the jets on a separating boundary layer along the curved blade surface. Steady injection provided flow control through freestream entrainment, while pulsed jets created a two-dimensional, spanwise disturbance that reduced the separated area as it traveled downstream. A detailed fluid analysis of the uncontrolled flow around the blade was performed in order to identify the separation and reattachment points and the area of transition. This information was used as a basis for comparison with the VGJ cases to determine flow control effectiveness.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





active flow control, boundary layer separation control, steady vortex generator jets, pulsed vortex generator jets, separation bubble analysis, low pressure turbine blade design, phase locked PIV measurements