An experimental study has been carried out to examine the effect of a sharp-edged step on boundary layer transition. The transition position and disturbance spectra in the boundary layer for different step heights and free-stream velocities were measured by hot-wire anemometry. A correlation between the transition Reynolds number and the relative step height has been established for both backward-facing and forward-facing steps. The transition position is associated with the “N-factor” that defines the integrated growth of instability waves at transition. The boundary layer over a step has an earlier transition position than that on a smooth plate, since the instability waves amplify more rapidly than those on a smooth surface. The transition N-factor for the flow containing a step, calculated using the amplification rates on a smooth plate, will, therefore, be smaller than that on surfaces without a step. The observed reduction of the N-factor occurring with a step has been shown to correlate with the height of the step, thus, providing an empirical tool that can be used to estimate the transition position when steps occur. An appropriate value of N can be determined from knowledge of the step height.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 14, 2005
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