This paper is an extension of an experimental investigation by Alving & Fernholz (1996). In the present experiments the effects of free-stream turbulence were investigated on a boundary layer with an adverse pressure gradient and a closed reverse-flow region. By adding free-stream turbulence the mean reverse-flow region was shortened or completely eliminated and this was used to control the size of the separation bubble. The turbulence intensity was varied between 0.2% and 6% using upstream grids while the turbulence length scale was on the order of the boundary layer thickness. Mean and fluctuating velocities as well as spectra were measured by means of hot-wire and laser-Doppler anemometry and wall shear stress by wall pulsed-wire and wall hot-wire probes.
Free-stream turbulence had a small effect on the boundary layer in the mild adverse-pressure-gradient region but in the vicinity of separation and along the reverse-flow region mean velocity profiles, skin friction and turbulence structure were strongly affected. Downstream of the mean or instantaneous reverse-flow regions highly disturbed boundary layers developed in a nominally zero pressure gradient and converged to a similar turbulence structure in all three cases at the end of the test section. This state was, however, still very different from that in a canonical boundary layer.