Acoustic excitation of Tollmien–Schlichting waves due to localised surface roughness

Marco Placidi, Michael Gaster, Chris J. Atkin

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Experiments on the receptivity of two-dimensional boundary layers to acoustic disturbances from two-dimensional roughness strips were performed in a low-turbulence wind tunnel on a flat plate model. The free stream was subjected to a plane acoustic wave so that a Stokes layer (SL) was created on the plate, thus generating a Tollmien-Schlichting (T-S) wave through the receptivity process. An improved technique to measure the T-S component is described based on a retracting two-dimensional roughness, which allowed for phase-locked measurements at the acoustic wave frequency to be made. This improved technique enables both protuberances and cavities to be explored in the range < |h| (equivalent to 0.025 < |h|/ γ B ) in relative roughness height to the local unperturbed Blasius boundary layer displacement thickness). These depths are designed to cover both the predicted linear and nonlinear response of the T-S excitation. Experimentally, cavities had not previously been explored. Results show that a linear regime is identifiable for both positive and negative roughness heights up to ≈ 150 μm (|h| γ B ≈ 0.126). The departure from the linear behaviour is, however, dependent on the geometry of the surface imperfection. For cavities of significant depth, the nonlinear behaviour is found to be milder than in the case of protuberances - this is attributed to the flow physics in the near field of the surface features. Nonetheless, results for positive heights agree well with previous theoretical work which predicted a linear disturbance response for small-height perturbations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR5
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Early online date21 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2020


  • boundary layer receptivity
  • transition to turbulence

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