Two-dimensional global stability measures of the flat plate boundary-layer flow

Författare: Åkervik, E.Å., Ehrenstein, U, Gallaire, F.G., Henningson, D.S.H.
Dokumenttyp: Artikel
Tillstånd: Publicerad
Tidskrift: European Journal of Mechanics B/Fluids
Volym: 27   501-513
År: 2008


The stability of the two-dimensional flat plate boundary-layer is studied by means of global eigenmodes. These eigenmodes depend both on the streamwise and wall-normal coordinate, hence there are no assumptions on the streamwise length scales of the disturbances. Expanding the perturbation velocity field in the basis of eigenmodes yields a reduced order model from which the stability characteristics of the flow, \ie the initial condition and forcing function leading to the largest energy growth, are extracted by means of non-modal analysis. In this paper we show that, even when performing stability analysis using global eigenmodes, it is not sufficient to consider only a few of the least damped seemingly relevant eigenmodes. Instead it is the task of the optimization procedure, inherent in the non-modal analysis, to decide which eigenmodes are relevant. We show that both the optimal initial condition and the optimal forcing structure have the form of upstream tilted structures. Time integration reveals that these structures gain energy through the so called Orr mechanism, where the instabilities extract energy from the mean shear. This provides the optimal way of initiating Tollmien-Schlichting waves in the boundary layer. The optimal initial condition results in a localized Tollmien-Schlichting wavepacket that propagates downstream, whereas the optimal forcing results in a persistent Tollmien-Schlichting wave train.