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International Journal of Rotating Machinery
Volume 2005 (2005), Issue 1, Pages 1-15

Effects of Low Reynolds Number on Wake-Generated Unsteady Flow of an Axial-Flow Turbine Rotor

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), 1-2-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8564, Japan

Received 1 May 2004

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The unsteady flow field downstream of axial-flow turbine rotors at low Reynolds numbers was investigated experimentally using hot-wire probes. Reynolds number, based on rotor exit velocity and rotor chord length Reout,RT, was varied from 3.2×104 to 12.8×104 at intervals of 1.0×104 by changing the flow velocity of the wind tunnel. The time-averaged and time-dependent distributions of velocity and turbulence intensity were analyzed to determine the effect of Reynolds number. The reduction of Reynolds number had a marked influence on the turbine flow field. The regions of high turbulence intensity due to the wake and the secondary vortices were increased dramatically with the decreasing Reynolds number. The periodic fluctuation of the flow due to rotor-stator interaction also increased with the decreasing Reynolds number. The energy-dissipation thickness of the rotor midspan wake at the low Reynolds number Reout,RT=3.2×104 was 1.5 times larger than that at the high Reynolds number Reout,RT=12.8×104. The curve of the 0.2 power of the Reynolds number agreed with the measured energy-dissipation thickness at higher Reynolds numbers. However, the curve of the 0.4 power law fitted more closely than the curve of the 0.2 power law at lower Reynolds numbers below 6.4×104.