Roughness elements in laminar boundary layers generate both high shear layers and streaky structures. Because these phenomena interact, it is difficult to precisely ascertain the dominant instability mechanisms. With the goal of explicating such interactions, we study the stability of a laminar boundary layer subject to a single roughness element at a Reynolds number subcritical of bypass transition. Our work involves two parts: bi-global linear stability theory (LST) analysis and corroborating experimental measurements. Linear stability analysis of a flat-plate boundary layer perturbed by streamwise streaks reveals the presence of several unstable modes. Of the dominant two modes, one exhibits spanwise symmetry and the other is antisymmetric. These modes are termed ‘varicose’ and ‘sinuous,’ respectively. Corroborating experiments were conducted in the laminar water channel of the University of Stuttgart. By simultaneously traversing two hot-film probes, we are able to confirm the presence of both eigenmodes predicted by LST and to extract relevant data for each: eigenvalues, eigenfunctions, growth rates and phase distributions. The main part of the experiments has been performed under ‘natural’ conditions, i.e., in the absence of external forcing. As the amplitude of the sinuous part of the results is much smaller than the varicose one and hence affected by measurement noise, a case with asymmetric external forcing is presented as well. Despite some deficiencies of the setup, it is possible to enhance the sinuous mode with respect to the unforced case and to confirm its existence as an eigenmode of the flow.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 11, 2015
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