Scaling of streamwise boundary layer streaks and their ability to reduce skin-friction drag

Authors: Shahinfar, S., Fransson, J. H. M., Sattarzadeh, S. S., Talamelli, A.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: J. Fluid Mech.
Volume: 733   1-32
Year: 2013


Spanwise arrays of miniature vortex generators (MVGs) are used to generate energetic transient disturbance growth, which is able to modulate the boundary layer flow with steady and stable streak amplitudes up to 32% of the free-stream velocity. This type of modulation has previously been shown to act in a stabilizing manner on modal disturbance growth described by classical instability theory. In an attempt to reproduce a more realistic flow configuration, in the present experimental setup, Tollmien–Schlichting (TS) waves are generated upstream of the MVG array, allowing for a complete interaction of the incoming wave with the array. Fifteen new MVG configurations are investigated and the stabilizing effect on the TS waves is quantified. We show that the streak amplitude definition is very important when trying to relate it to the stabilization, since it may completely bypass information on the mean streamwise velocity gradient in the spanwise direction, which is an essential ingredient of the observed stabilization. Here, we use an integral-based streak amplitude definition along with a streak amplitude scaling relation based on empiricism, which takes the spanwise periodicity of the streaks into account. The results show that, applying the integral definition, the optimal streak amplitude for attenuating TS wave disturbance growth is around 30% of the free-stream velocity, which corresponds to 20% in the conventional definition when keeping the spanwise wavelength constant. The experiments also show that the disturbance energy level, based on the full velocity signal, is significantly reduced in the controlled case, and that the onset of transition may be inhibited altogether throughout the measured region in the presence of an MVG array.