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Pressure fluctuations produced by forward steps immersed in a turbulent boundary layer

  • Manuj Awasthi (a1), William J. Devenport (a1), Stewart A. L. Glegg (a2) and Jonathan B. Forest (a1)


Experiments have been performed on the disturbance of a high-Reynolds-number turbulent boundary layer by three forward steps with sizes close to 3.8, 15 and 60 % of the boundary layer thickness. Particular attention is focused on the impact of the steps on the fluctuating surface pressure field. Measurements were made from 5 boundary layer thicknesses upstream to 22 boundary layer thicknesses downstream of the step, a distance equivalent to over 600 step heights for the smallest step size. Flow speeds of 30 and $\def \xmlpi #1{}\def \mathsfbi #1{\boldsymbol {\mathsf {#1}}}\let \le =\leqslant \let \leq =\leqslant \let \ge =\geqslant \let \geq =\geqslant \def \Pr {\mathit {Pr}}\def \Fr {\mathit {Fr}}\def \Rey {\mathit {Re}}60\ \mathrm{m}\ {\mathrm{s}}^{-1}$ were studied, corresponding to boundary layer momentum thickness Reynolds numbers of 15 500 and 26 600 and step size Reynolds numbers from 6640 to 213 000. The steps produce a disturbance to the boundary layer pressure spectrum that scales on step size and decays remarkably slowly with distance downstream. When normalized on step height and free-stream velocity, the disturbance is self-similar and appears to develop almost independently of the enveloping boundary layer. The disturbance is still clearly visible at 150 step heights downstream of the mid-size step. Pressure correlations show the disturbance to be characterized by organized quasiperiodic motions that become visible well downstream of reattachment. The coherence and scale of these motions, as seen in the wall pressure correlations, scales on the step height and thus their visibility relative to the boundary layer grows rapidly as the step size is increased.


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