Receptivity, instability and breakdown of Görtler flow

Authors: Schrader, L.-U., Brandt, L.B., Zaki, T. A.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Journal of Fluid Mechancis
Volume: 682   362-396
Year: 2011


Receptivity, disturbance growth and breakdown to turbulence in Görtler flow are studied by spatial direct numerical simulation. The boundary layer is exposed to free-stream vortical modes and localized wall roughness. We propose a normalization of the roughness-induced receptivity coefficient by the square root of the Görtler number. This scaling removes the dependence of the receptivity coefficient on wall curvature. It is found that vortical modes are more efficient at generating Görtler vortices than localized roughness. The boundary layer is most receptive to zero- and low-frequency free-stream vortices, exciting steady and slowly traveling Görtler modes. The associated receptivity mechanism is linear and involves the generation of boundary-layer streaks, which soon evolve into unstable Görtler vortices. This connection between transient and exponential amplification is absent on flat plates and promotes transition to turbulence on curved walls. We demonstrate that the Görtler boundary layer is also receptive to high-frequency free-stream vorticity, which triggers steady Görtler rolls via a nonlinear receptivity mechanism. In addition to the receptivity study, we have carried out direct numerical simulation of boundary-layer transition due to broadband free-stream turbulence with different intensities and frequency spectra. It is found that nonlinear receptivity dominates over the linear mechanism unless the free-stream fluctuations are concentrated in the low frequency range. In the latter case, transition is accelerated due to the presence of traveling Görtler modes.