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Small-scale anisotropy in turbulent boundary layers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2016

Alain Pumir
Affiliation:
Univ Lyon, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Univ Claude Bernard, CNRS, Laboratoire de Physique, F-69342, Lyon, France Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation, Göttingen, D-37077, Germany
Haitao Xu
Affiliation:
Center for Combustion Energy and Department of Thermal Engineering, Tsinghua University, 100084, Beijing, China Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation, Göttingen, D-37077, Germany
Eric D. Siggia
Affiliation:
Center for Physics and Biology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

In a channel flow, the velocity fluctuations are inhomogeneous and anisotropic. Yet, the small-scale properties of the flow are expected to behave in an isotropic manner in the very-large-Reynolds-number limit. We consider the statistical properties of small-scale velocity fluctuations in a turbulent channel flow at moderately high Reynolds number ( $Re_{\unicode[STIX]{x1D70F}}\approx 1000$ ), using the Johns Hopkins University Turbulence Database. Away from the wall, in the logarithmic layer, the skewness of the normal derivative of the streamwise velocity fluctuation is approximately constant, of order 1, while the Reynolds number based on the Taylor scale is $R_{\unicode[STIX]{x1D706}}\approx 150$ . This defines a small-scale anisotropy that is stronger than in turbulent homogeneous shear flows at comparable values of $R_{\unicode[STIX]{x1D706}}$ . In contrast, the vorticity–strain correlations that characterize homogeneous isotropic turbulence are nearly unchanged in channel flow even though they do vary with distance from the wall with an exponent that can be inferred from the local dissipation. Our results demonstrate that the statistical properties of the fluctuating velocity gradient in turbulent channel flow are characterized, on one hand, by observables that are insensitive to the anisotropy, and behave as in homogeneous isotropic flows, and on the other hand by quantities that are much more sensitive to the anisotropy. How this seemingly contradictory situation emerges from the simultaneous action of the flux of energy to small scales and the transport of momentum away from the wall remains to be elucidated.

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Copyright
© 2016 Cambridge University Press 

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