Similarity Behavior in Transitional Boundary Layers Over a Range of Adverse Pressure Gradients and Turbulence Levels

[+] Author and Article Information
J. P. Gostelow

University of Technology, Sydney, Sydney, Australia

G. J. Walker

University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

J. Turbomach 113(4), 617-624 (Oct 01, 1991) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2929125 History: Received February 07, 1990; Online June 09, 2008


Boundary layer transition has been investigated experimentally under low, moderate, and high free-stream turbulence levels and varying adverse pressure gradients. Under high turbulence levels and adverse pressure gradients a pronounced subtransition was present. A strong degree of similarity in intermittency distributions was observed, for all conditions, when the Narasimha procedure for determination of transition inception was used. Effects of free-stream turbulence on the velocity profile are particularly strong for the laminar boundary layer upstream of the transition region. This could reflect the influence of the turbulence on the shear stress distribution throughout the layer and this matter needs further attention. The velocity profiles in wall coordinates undershoot the turbulent wall layer asymptote near the wall over most of the transition region. The rapidity with which transition occurs under adverse pressure gradients produces strong lag effects on the velocity profile; the starting turbulent boundary layer velocity profile may depart significantly from local equilibrium conditions. The practice of deriving integral properties and skin friction for transitional boundary layers by a linear combination of laminar and turbulent values for equilibrium layers is inconsistent with the observed lag effects. The velocity profile responds sufficiently slowly to the perturbation imposed by transition that much of the anticipated drop in form factor will not have occurred prior to the completion of transition. This calls into question both experimental techniques, which rely on measured form factor to characterize transition, and boundary layer calculations, which rely on local equilibrium assumptions in the vicinity of transition.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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