Transition thresholds in the asymptotic suction boundary layer

Authors: Levin, O., Davidsson, E.N., Henningson, D.S.H.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Phys. Fluids
Volume: 17   114104
Year: 2005


Energy thresholds for transition to turbulence in an asymptotic suction boundary layer is calculated by means of temporal direct numerical simulations. The temporal assumption limits the analysis to periodic disturbances with horizontal wavenumbers determined by the computational box size. Three well known transition scenarios are investigated: oblique transition, the growth and breakdown of streaks triggered by streamwise vortices, and the development of random noise. Linear disturbance simulations and stability diagnostics are also performed for a base flow consisting of the suction boundary layer and a streak. The scenarios are found to trigger transition by similar mechanisms as obtained for other flows. Transition at the lowest initial energy is provided by the oblique wave scenario for the considered Reynolds numbers 500, 800 and 1200. The Reynolds number dependence on the energy thresholds are determined for each scenario. The threshold scales like Re^-2.6 for oblique transition and like Re^-2.1 for transition initiated by streamwise vortices and random noise, indicating that oblique transition has the lowest energy threshold also for larger Reynolds numbers.