Effect of environmental disturbances on crossflow instability

Marco Placidi (Lead Author), Richard Ashworth, Chris J. Atkin, Stephen Rolston

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Wind tunnel experiments on the receptivity of three-dimensional boundary layers were performed in a range of freestream turbulence intensities, Tu, from 0.01%—the lowest level ever achieved in this type of work—up to 0.41%. This work confirms that for Tu=0.01%, and presumably below this level, the transition process is dominated by stationary modes. These are receptive to surface roughness and generate Type-I and Type-II secondary instabilities that eventually cause the transition to turbulence. The saturation amplitude of these stationary waves is highly sensitive to the level of environmental disturbances; the former is here recorded to be the highest in the literature, with the latter being the lowest. Travelling modes are still present; however, their influence on the transition process is marginal. At matched surface roughness levels, when the level of environmental disturbance is enhanced to Tu≥0.33%, the travelling modes acquire more importance, strongly influencing the laminar/turbulent transition process, whilst the initial amplitude and growth of the stationary modes are hindered. For this level of Tu, is the interaction of steady and unsteady disturbances that produces highly amplified waves (Type-III), that quickly lead to nonlinear growth and anticipated turbulence. Finally, a simple rule of thumb is proposed, where the transition front was found to move forward by roughly 10% chord for an increase in one order of magnitude in the Tu levels.
Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2023

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