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Unsteadiness in a large turbulent separation bubble

  • Abdelouahab Mohammed-Taifour (a1) and Julien Weiss (a1)


The unsteady behaviour of a massively separated, pressure-induced turbulent separation bubble (TSB) is investigated experimentally using high-speed particle image velocimetry (PIV) and piezo-resistive pressure sensors. The TSB is generated on a flat test surface by a combination of adverse and favourable pressure gradients. The Reynolds number based on the momentum thickness of the incoming boundary layer is 5000 and the free stream velocity is $25~\text{m}~\text{s}^{-1}$ . The proper orthogonal decomposition (POD) is used to separate the different unsteady modes in the flow. The first POD mode contains approximately 30 % of the total kinetic energy and is shown to describe a low-frequency contraction and expansion, called ‘breathing’, of the TSB. This breathing is responsible for a variation in TSB size of approximately 90 % of its average length. It also generates low-frequency wall-pressure fluctuations that are mainly felt upstream of the mean detachment and downstream of the mean reattachment. A medium-frequency unsteadiness, which is linked to the convection of large-scale vortices in the shear layer bounding the recirculation zone and their shedding downstream of the TSB, is also observed. When scaled with the vorticity thickness of the shear layer and the convection velocity of the structures, this medium frequency is very close to the characteristic frequency of vortices convected in turbulent mixing layers. The streamwise position of maximum vertical turbulence intensity generated by the convected structures is located downstream of the mean reattachment line and corresponds to the position of maximum wall-pressure fluctuations.


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Unsteadiness in a large turbulent separation bubble

  • Abdelouahab Mohammed-Taifour (a1) and Julien Weiss (a1)


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