Vortex generator jets (VGJs) have proven to be effective in minimizing the separation losses on low-pressure turbine blades at low Reynolds numbers. Experimental data collected using phase-locked particle image velocimetry and substantiated with a hot-film anemometer were used to answer fundamental questions about the influence of VGJs on a separated boundary layer. The data were collected on the suction surface of the Pack B blade profile, which has a non-reattaching separation bubble beginning at 68% axial chord. Two VGJ pulse histories were created with different frequencies, jet durations, and duty cycles. The mechanisms responsible for boundary layer separation control were shown to be a combination of boundary layer transition and streamwise vortical structures. Jet duration and relaxation time were important VGJ characteristics in determining the extent of control. The unsteady environment characterisitic of the low-pressure turbine section in a gas turbine engine effectively reduces the time-averaged separation zone by as much as 35%. Upstream blade rows create unsteady flow disturbances (wakes) that transition the flow. This transitioned flow propagates downstream, re-attaching the separation bubbles on the subsequent blade row. Phase-locked PIV and hot-film measurements were used to document the characteristics of this separation zone when subjected to synchronized unsteady wakes and VGJs. The phase difference between VGJ actuation and the wake passing, blowing ratio, and VGJ duration were optimized to achieve the greatest time-averaged control of the separation zone. The experimental data were used to identify the important characteristics of the wake/jet interaction. Phase-locked PIV measurements were taken to isolate the wake event (wake only), the VGJ event (jets only), and the synchronized combination of unsteady wakes and jets. The synchronized conditions achieved maximum separation bubble control. The presence of wake and jet induced calmed zones are also noted.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





vortex generator jets, VGJ, PIV, Pack B, turbine blade, hot-film, particle image velocimetry, separation, wakes