Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Mitch Wolff (Advisor), Rolf Sondergaard (Committee Member), Christopher Marks (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


A primary source of periodic unsteadiness in low-pressure turbines is the wakes shed from upstream blade rows due to the relative motion between adjacent stators and rotors. These periodic perturbations can affect boundary layer transition, secondary flow, and loss generation. In particular, for high-lift front-loaded blades, the secondary flowfield is characterized by strong three-dimensional vortical structures. It is important to understand how these flow features respond to periodic disturbances. A novel approach was taken to generate periodic unsteadiness which captures some of the physics of turbomachinery wakes. Using stationary pneumatic devices, pulsed jets were used to generate disturbances characterized by velocity deficit, elevated turbulence, and spanwise vorticity. Prior to application in a turbine flow environment, the concept was explored in a small developmental wind tunnel using a single device. The disturbance flowfield for different input settings was measured using hot-film anemometry and Particle Image Velocimetry. Insight was also garnered on how to improve later design iterations. With an array of devices installed upstream of a linear cascade of high-lift front-loaded turbine blades, settings were found which produced similar disturbances at varying frequencies that periodically impinged upon the leading-edge region. These settings were used to conduct an in-passage secondary flow study using high-speed Stereoscopic Particle Image Velocimetry. Results demonstrated the application of the periodic unsteadiness generator but found minor changes to the passage vortex. The vortex rotational strength decreased, and migration increased with increased perturbation frequency. Fourier analyses found the PV to be responsive at the actuation frequency with phase-locked ensemble-averaged data revealing that the disturbance periodically caused the PV to lose rotational strength. However, at the tested discrete frequencies, the vortex did not become locked-in and was defined by an erratic time-character similar to without the disturbances.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.