Effects of Free-Stream Turbulence and Adverse Pressure Gradients on Boundary Layer Transition

[+] Author and Article Information
J. P. Gostelow, A. R. Blunden

University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia

G. J. Walker

University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

J. Turbomach 116(3), 392-404 (Jul 01, 1994) (13 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2929426 History: Received February 24, 1992; Online June 09, 2008


Boundary layer measurements are presented through transition for six different free-stream turbulence levels and a complete range of adverse pressure gradients for attached laminar flow. Measured intermittency distributions provide an excellent similarity basis for characterizing the transition process under all conditions tested when the Narasimha procedure for determining transition inception is used. This inception location procedure brings consistency to the data. Velocity profiles and integral parameters are influenced by turbulence level and pressure gradient and do not provide a consistent basis. Under strong adverse pressure gradients transition occurs rapidly and the velocity profile has not fully responded before the completion of transition. The starting turbulent layer does not attain an equilibrium velocity profile. A change in pressure gradient from zero to even a modest adverse level is accompanied by a severe reduction in transition length. Under diffusing conditions the physics of the transition process changes and the spot formation rate increases rapidly; instead of the “breakdown in sets” regime experienced in the absence of a pressure gradient, transition under strong adverse pressure gradients is more related to the amplification and subsequent instability of the Tollmien-Schlichting waves. Measurements reveal an exponential decrease in transition length with increasing adverse pressure gradient; a less severe exponential decrease is experienced with increasing turbulence level. Correlations of transition length are provided that facilitate its prediction in the form of suitable length parameters including spot formation rate.

Copyright © 1994 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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