Large-Eddy BreakUp devices – a 40 years perspective from a Stockholm horizon

Authors: Alfredsson, P.H., Örlü, R.
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Flow, Turbulence and Combustion
Volume: 100   877-888
Year: 2018


In the beginning of the 1980’s Large Eddy BreakUp (LEBU) devices, thin plates or airfoils mounted in the outer part of turbulent boundary layers, were shown to be able to change the turbulent structure and intermittency as well as reduce turbulent skin friction. In some wind-tunnel studies it was also claimed that a net drag reduction was obtained, i.e. the reduction in skin-friction drag was larger than the drag on the devices. However, towing-tank experiments with a flat plate at high Reynolds numbers as well as with an axisymmetric body showed no net reduction, but instead an increase in total drag. Recent large-eddy simulations have explored the effect of LEBUs on the turbulent boundary layer and evaluations of the total drag show similar results as in the towing tank experiments. Despite these negative results in terms of net drag reduction, LEBUs manipulate the boundary layer in an interesting way which explains why they still attract some interest. The reason for the positive results in the wind-tunnel studies as compared to drag measurements are discussed here, although no definite answer for the differences can be given.