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The structure of a separating turbulent boundary layer. Part 1. Mean flow and Reynolds stresses

  • Roger L. Simpson (a1), Y.-T. Chew (a1) (a2) and B. G. Shivaprasad (a1)

Abstract

The problem of turbulent-boundary-layer separation due to an adverse pressure gradient is an old but still important problem in many fluid flow devices. Until recent years little quantitative experimental information was available on the flow structure downstream of separation because of the lack of proper instrumentation. The directionally sensitive laser anemometer provides the ability to measure the instantaneous flow direction and magnitude accurately.

The experimental results described here are concerned with a nominally two-dimensional, separating turbulent boundary layer for an airfoil-type flow in which the flow was accelerated and then decelerated until separation. Upstream of separation single and cross-wire hot-wire anemometer measurements are also presented. Measurements in the separated zone with a directionally sensitive laser-anemometer system were obtained for U, V, $\overline{u^2}, \overline{v^2}, - \overline{uv}$, the fraction of time that the flow moves downstream, and the fraction of time that the flow moves away from the wall.

In addition to confirming the earlier conclusions of Simpson, Strickland & Barr (1977) regarding a separating airfoil-type turbulent boundary layer, much new information about the separated region has been gathered. (1) The backflow mean velocity profile scales on the maximum negative mean velocity UN and its distance from the wall N. A U+ vs. y+ law-of-the-wall velocity profile is not consistent with this result. (2) The turbulent velocities are comparable with the mean velocity in the backflow, although low turbulent shearing stresses are present. (3) Mixing length and eddy viscosity models are physically meaningless in the backflow and have reduced values in the outer region of the separated flow.

Downstream of fully developed separation, the mean backflow appears to be divided into three layers: a viscous layer nearest the wall that is dominated by the turbulent flow unsteadiness but with little Reynolds shearing stress effects; a rather flat intermediate layer that seems to act as an overlap region between the viscous wall and outer regions; and the outer backflow region that is really part of the large-scaled outer region flow. The Reynolds shearing stress must be modelled by relating it to the turbulence structure and not to local mean velocity gradients. The mean velocities in the backflow are the results of time averaging the large turbulent fluctuations and are not related to the source of the turbulence.

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References

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The structure of a separating turbulent boundary layer. Part 1. Mean flow and Reynolds stresses

  • Roger L. Simpson (a1), Y.-T. Chew (a1) (a2) and B. G. Shivaprasad (a1)

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