Transition to turbulence in the boundary layer over a smooth and a rough swept plate exposed to free-stream turbulence

Författare: Schrader, L.-U., Amin, S., Brandt, L.B.
Dokumenttyp: Artikel
Tillstånd: Publicerad
Tidskrift: J. Fluid Mech.
Volym: 646   297-325
År: 2010


Receptivity, disturbance growth and transition to turbulence of the three-dimensional boundary layer developing on a swept flat plate are studied by means of numerical simulations. The flow is subject to a favorable pressure gradient and represents a model for swept-wing flow downstream of the leading edge and upstream of the pressure minimum of the wing. The boundary layer is perturbed by free-stream turbulence and localized surface roughness with random distribution in spanwise direction. The intensity of the turbulent free-stream fluctuations ranges from conditions typical for free flight to higher levels usually encountered in turbo-machinery applications. The free-stream turbulence initially excites non-modal streak-like disturbances as in two-dimensional boundary layers, soon evolving into modal instabilities in the form of unsteady cross-flow modes. The latter grow faster and dominate the downstream disturbance environment in the layer. The results show that the receptivity mechanism is linear for the disturbance amplitudes under consideration, while the subsequent growth of the primary disturbances rapidly becomes affected by nonlinear saturation in particular for free-stream fluctuations with high intensity. Transition to turbulence occurs in the form of localized turbulent spots randomly appearing in the flow. The main features of the breakdown are presented for the case of travelling cross-flow vortices induced by free-stream turbulence. The flow is also receptive to localized roughness strips, exciting stationary cross-flow modes. The mode with most efficient receptivity dominates the downstream disturbance environment. When both free-stream fluctuations and wall roughness act on the boundary layer at the same time, transition is dominated by steady cross-flow waves unless the incoming turbulence intensity is larger than about 0.5% for roughness amplitudes of about one tenth of the boundary-layer displacement thickness. The results show that a correct prediction of the disturbance behavior can be obtained considering the receptivity and evolution of individual modes. In addition, we provide an estimate for the amplitudes of the external disturbance sources above which a fully nonlinear receptivity analysis is necessary.