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Bubble friction drag reduction in a high-Reynolds-number flat-plate turbulent boundary layer

  • WENDY C. SANDERS (a1), ERIC S. WINKEL (a1), DAVID R. DOWLING (a1), MARC PERLIN (a1) and STEVEN L. CECCIO (a1)...

Abstract

Turbulent boundary layer skin friction in liquid flows may be reduced when bubbles are present near the surface on which the boundary layer forms. Prior experimental studies of this phenomenon reached downstream-distance-based Reynolds numbers ($Re_{x}$) of several million, but potential applications may occur at $Re_{x}$ orders of magnitude higher. This paper presents results for $Re_{x}$ as high as 210 million from skin-friction drag-reduction experiments conducted in the USA Navy's William B. Morgan Large Cavitation Channel (LCC). Here, a near-zero-pressure-gradient flat-plate turbulent boundary layer was generated on a 12.9 m long hydraulically smooth flat plate that spanned the 3 m wide test section. The test surface faced downward and air was injected at volumetric rates as high as 0.38 m$^{3}$ s$^{-1}$ through one of two flush-mounted 40 $\mu$m sintered-metal strips that nearly spanned the test model at upstream and downstream locations. Spatially and temporally averaged shear stress and bubble-image-based measurements are reported here for nominal test speeds of 6, 12 and 18 m s$^{-1}$. The mean bubble diameter was $\sim$300 $\mu$m. At the lowest test speed and highest air injection rate, buoyancy pushed the air bubbles to the plate surface where they coalesced to form a nearly continuous gas film that persisted to the end of the plate with near-100% skin-friction drag reduction. At the higher two flow speeds, the bubbles generally remained distinct and skin-friction drag reduction was observed when the bubbly mixture was closer to the plate surface than 300 wall units of the boundary-layer flow without air injection, even when the bubble diameter was more than 100 of these wall units. Skin-friction drag reduction was lost when the near-wall shear induced the bubbles to migrate from the plate surface. This bubble-migration phenomenon limited the persistence of bubble-induced skin-friction drag reduction to the first few metres downstream of the air injector in the current experiments.

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Bubble friction drag reduction in a high-Reynolds-number flat-plate turbulent boundary layer

  • WENDY C. SANDERS (a1), ERIC S. WINKEL (a1), DAVID R. DOWLING (a1), MARC PERLIN (a1) and STEVEN L. CECCIO (a1)...

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