The present paper addresses experimental studies of Reynolds number effects on a turbulent boundary layer with separation, reattachment, and recovery. A momentum thickness Reynolds number varies from 1,100 to 20,100 with a wind tunnel enclosed in a pressure vessel by varying the air density and wind tunnel speed. A custom-built, high-resolution laser Doppler anemometer provides fully resolved turbulence measurements over the full Reynolds number range. The experiments show that the mean flow is at most a very weak function of Reynolds number while turbulence quantities strongly depend on Reynolds number. Roller vortices are generated in the separated shear layer caused by the Kelvin–Helmholtz instability. Empirical Reynolds number scalings for the mean velocity and Reynolds stresses are proposed for the upstream boundary layer, the separated region, and the recovery region. The inflectional instability plays a critical role in the scaling in the separated region. The near-wall flow recovers quickly downstream of reattachment even if the outer layer is far from an equilibrium state. As a result, a stress equilibrium layer where a flat-plate boundary layer scaling is valid develops in the recovery region and grows outward moving downstream.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 14, 2003
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