Investigations have been carried out of some aspects of the fine-scale structure of turbulence in grid flows, in boundary layers in a zero pressure gradient and in a boundary layer in a strong favourable pressure gradient leading to relaminarization. Using a narrow-band filter with suitable mid-band frequencies, the properties of the fine-scale structure (appearing as high frequency pulses in the filtered signal) were analysed using the variable discriminator level technique employed earlier by Rao, Narasimha & Badri Narayanan (1971). It was found that, irrespective of the type of flow, the characteristic pulse frequency (say Np) defined by Rao et al. was about 0·6 times the frequency of the zero crossings.
It was also found that, over the small range of Reynolds numbers tested, the ratio of the width of the fine-scale regions to the Kolmogorov scale increased linearly with Reynolds number in grid turbulence as well as in flat-plate boundarylayer flow. Nearly lognormal distributions were exhibited by this ratio as well as by the interval between successive zero crossings.
The values of Np and of the zero-crossing rate were found to be nearly constant across the boundary layer, except towards its outer edge and very near the wall. In the zero-pressure-gradient boundary-layer flow, very near the wall the high frequency pulses were found to occur mostly when the longitudinal velocity fluctuation u was positive (i.e. above the mean), whereas in the outer part of the boundary layer the pulses more often occurred when u was negative. During acceleration this correlation between the fine-scale motion and the sign of u was less marked.