Using Gurney flaps to control laminar separation on linear cascade blades

Aaron R. Byerley, Oliver Störmer, James W. Baughn, Terrence W. Simon, Kenneth W. Van Treuren, Jörg List

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This paper describes an experimental investigation of the use of Gurney flaps to control laminar separation on turbine blades in a linear cascade. Measurements were made at Reynolds numbers (based upon inlet velocity and axial chord) of 28 × 103, 65 × 103 and 167 × 103. The freestream turbulence intensity for all three cases was 0.8%. Laminar separation was present on the suction surface of the Langston blade shape for the two lower Reynolds numbers. In an effort to control the laminar separation, Gurney flaps were added to the pressure surface close to the trailing edge. The measurements indicate that the flaps turn and accelerate the flow in the blade passage toward the suction surface of the neighboring blade thereby eliminating the separation bubble. Five different sizes of Gurney flaps, ranging from 0.6 to 2.7% of axial chord, were tested. The laser thermal tuft technique was used to determine the influence of the Gurney flaps on the location and size of the separation bubble. Additionally, measurements of wall static pressure, profile loss, and blade-exit flow angle were made. The blade pressure distribution indicates that the lift generated by the blade is increased. As was expected, the Gurney flap also produced a larger wake. In practice, Gurney flaps might possibly be implemented in a semi-passive manner. They could be deployed for low Reynolds number operation and then retracted at high Reynolds numbers when separation is not present. This work is important because it describes a successful means for eliminating the separation bubble while characterizing both the potential performance improvement and the penalties associated with this semi-passive flow control technique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-120
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Turbomachinery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003


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