Numerical results are presented from the NASA Glenn Research Center’s in-house turbomachinery code, Glenn-HT applied to the Variable Speed Power Turbine (VSPT) experiment at the NASA Transonic Turbine Blade Cascade Facility. The main goal of this paper is to implement a digital filtering method to generate turbulence upstream and a sub-grid model (Localized dynamic k-equation model (LDKM)) in the framework of LES in order to investigate the effect of inflow turbulence on the transition seen in the VSPT experimental data at the cruise condition (incidence angle of 40° and Tu = 0.5%, 5%, 10%, and 15%). Although the boundary layer on the suction side and pressure side of the blades is initially laminar due to favorable pressure gradient, the laminar flow can transition to turbulent flow past a separation zone on the suction side or by natural or by-pass transition. This process determines the total-pressure losses in the wake. Therefore, it is desirable to develop a reliable prediction tool to accurately capture the transition mechanism in blade rows operated under the conditions of low Reynolds number and at a variety of free stream turbulence conditions. Our numerical studies reveal that the location of separation is rather insensitive to the level of Tu, however the effect of increasing Tu seems to be in reducing the size and ultimately suppressing the separation bubble. In addition, we performed spectral analysis to identify the peak frequencies in the region where the separation bubble is formed, which provides valuable insights into the transition/separation mechanism.

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