The operation of compact power units at low Reynolds environments is constrained by the boundary layer detachment in the low pressure turbines stages. Flow separation is prompt by the lack of momentum on the near wall region when exposed to adverse pressure gradients. Transient flow conditions or periodic flow perturbations induced to the near wall flow may delay or prevent the flow detachment. The present investigation experimentally analyzes the behavior of separated flows based on ad-hoc wall mounted hump. The test article mimics the performance of the aft portion of the suction side of a low pressure turbine where flow separation occurs at low Reynolds and fully attached flow takes place at high Reynolds. The inception of separated flow under sudden flow release was investigated in a linear wind tunnel. The extension of the separated region and its transient development was monitored through surface pressure and temperature measurements and hotwire traverses. The inlet flow conditions to the test article were interrogated with total pressure, total temperature and hotwire traverses. A fast opening valve upstream of the settling chamber was sequentially actuated at low frequency to study the behavior of the recirculation bubble under sudden flow acceleration. Due to the sudden flow release, the near wall region overcomes the adverse pressure gradient. As the flow acceleration dilutes the boundary layer detaches and the separated flow region grows in the stream-wise direction. The comparison of the experimental results with 2D and 3D transient Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations demonstrates the ability of Unsteady Reynolds Average Navier-Stokes models to predict the dynamics of this phenomenon. However, CFD over-predicts the extension of the recirculated flow region. The integration of this research towards future control strategies will enable efficient operation of turbine-hybrid systems operating at high power.

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