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Curved two-stream turbulent mixing layers: three-dimensional structure and streamwise evolution

  • Michael W. Plesniak (a1), Rabindra D. Mehta (a2) and James P. Johnston (a3)

Abstract

The three-dimensional structure and streamwise evolution of two-stream mixing layers at high Reynolds numbers (Reδ ∼ 2.7 × 104) were studied experimentally to determine the effects of mild streamwise curvature ($\delta/ \overline{R}$ < 3%). Mixing layers with velocity ratios of 0.6 and both laminar and turbulent initial boundary layers, were subjected to stabilizing and destabilizing longitudinal curvature (in the Taylor–Görtler sense). The mixing layer is affected by the angular momentum instability when the low-speed stream is on the outside of the curve, and it is stabilized when the streams are reversed so that the high-speed stream is on the outside. In both stable and unstable mixing layers, originating from laminar boundary layers, well-organized spatially stationary streamwise vorticity was generated, which produced significant spanwise variations in the mean velocity and Reynolds stress distributions. These vortical structures appear to result from the amplification of small incoming disturbances (as in the straight mixing layer), rather than through the Taylor–Görtler instability. Although the mean streamwise vorticity decayed with downstream distance in both cases, the rate of decay for the unstable case was lower. With the initial boundary layers on the splitter plate turbulent, spatially stationary streamwise vorticity was not generated in either the stable or unstable mixing layer. Linear growth was achieved for both initial conditions, but the rate of growth for the unstable case was higher than that of the stable case. Correspondingly, the far-field spanwise-averaged peak Reynolds stresses were significantly higher for the destabilized cases than for the stabilized cases, which exhibited levels comparable to, or slightly lower than, those for the straight case. A part of the Reynolds stress increase in the unstable layer is attributed to ‘extra’ production through terms in the transport equations which are activated by the angular momentum instability. Velocity spectra also indicated significant differences in the turbulence structure of the two cases, both in the near- and far-field regions.

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Curved two-stream turbulent mixing layers: three-dimensional structure and streamwise evolution

  • Michael W. Plesniak (a1), Rabindra D. Mehta (a2) and James P. Johnston (a3)

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