Hybrid numerical large eddy simulation (NLES), detached eddy simulation (DES) and URANS methods are assessed on a cavity and a labyrinth seal geometry. A high sixth-order discretization scheme is used and is validated using the test case of a two-dimensional vortex. The hybrid approach adopts a new blending function. For the URANS simulations, the flow within the cavity remains steady, and the results show significant variation between models. Surprisingly, low levels of resolved turbulence are observed in the cavity for the DES simulation, and the cavity shear layer remains two dimensional. The hybrid RANS–NLES approach does not suffer from this trait.
For the labyrinth seal, both the URANS and DES approaches give low levels of resolved turbulence. The zonal Hamilton–Jacobi approach on the other had given significantly more resolved content. Both DES and hybrid RANS–NLES give good agreement with the experimentally measured velocity profiles. Again, there is significant variation between the URANS models, and swirl velocities are overpredicted. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.