A Prediction Model for Separated-Flow Transition

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Hatman, T. Wang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0921

J. Turbomach 121(3), 594-602 (Jul 01, 1999) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2841357 History: Received February 01, 1998; Online January 29, 2008


The present study formulates an improved approach for analyzing separated-flow transition that differentiates between the transition process in boundary layers that are laminar at separation and those that are already transitional at separation. The paper introduces new parameters that are necessary in classifying separated-flow transition modes and in accounting for the concomitant evolution of transition in separated shear layer and the average effect of periodic separation bubble build-up and vortex shedding. At least three separated-flow transition modes are positively distinguished: (a) transitional separation, with the transition starting upstream of the separation point and developing mostly as natural transition, (b) laminar separation/short bubble mode, with the onset of transition induced downstream of the separation point by inflexional instability and with a quick transition completion, and (c) laminar separation/long bubble mode, with the onset of transition also induced downstream of the separation point by inflexional instability, and with the transition completion delayed. Passing from one mode to another takes place continuously through a succession of intermediate stages. The location of maximum bubble elevation has been proved to be the controlling parameter for the separated flow behavior. It was found that, downstream of the separation point, the experimental data expressed in terms of distance Reynolds number Rex can be correlated better than momentum or displacement thickness Reynolds number. For each mode of separated-flow transition, the onset of transition, the transition length, and separated flow general characteristic are determined. This prediction model is developed mainly on low free-stream turbulence flat plate data and limited airfoil data. Extension to airfoils and high turbulence environment requires additional study.

Copyright © 1999 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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