The scales in a transitional boundary layer subject to high (initially 8%) free-stream turbulence and strong acceleration (K as high as 9×10−6) were investigated using wavelet spectral analysis and conditional sampling of experimental data. The boundary layer shows considerable evolution through transition, with a general shift from the lower frequencies induced by the free-stream unsteadiness to higher frequencies associated with near-wall-generated turbulence. Within the non-turbulent zone of the intermittent flow, there is considerable self-similarity in the spectra from the beginning of transition to the end, with the dominant frequencies in the boundary layer remaining constant at about the dominant frequency of the free-stream. The frequencies of the energy-containing scales in the turbulent zone change with streamwise location and are significantly higher than in the non-turbulent zone. When normalized on the local viscous length scale and velocity, however, the turbulent zone spectra also show good self-similarity throughout transition. Turbulence dissipation occurs almost exclusively in the turbulent zone. The velocity fluctuations associated with dissipation are isotropic, and their normalized spectra at upstream and downstream stations are nearly identical. The distinct differences between the turbulent and non-turbulent zones suggest the potential utility of intermittency based transition models in which these zones are treated separately. The self-similarity noted in both energy containing and dissipation scales in both zones suggests possibilities for simplifying the modeling for each zone.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 15, 2005
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