Licentiate seminar

Transition to turbulence in the asymptotic suction boundary layer

Defendant Main Advisor Extra Advisor Date
Taras Khapko Dan Henningson Philipp Schlatter 2014-02-28

Marc Avila, Institute of Fluid Mechanics, Univ. of Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany

Evaluation committee


The focus of this thesis is on the numerical study of subcritical transition to turbulence in the asymptotic suction boundary layer (ASBL). Applying constant homogeneous suction prevents the spatial growth of the boundary layer, granting access to the asymptotic dynamics. This enables research approaches which are not feasible in the spatially growing case.
In a first part, the laminar–turbulent separatrix of the ASBL is investigated numerically by means of an edge-tracking algorithm. The consideration of spanwise-extended domains allows for the robust localisation of the attracting flow structures on this separatrix. The active part of the identified edge states consists of a pair of low- and high-speed streaks, which experience calm phases followed by high energy bursts. During these bursts the structure is destroyed and re-created with a shift in the spanwise direction. Depending on the streamwise extent of the domain, these shifts are either regular in direction and distance, and periodic in time, or irregular in space and erratic in time. In all cases, the same clear regeneration mechanism of streaks and vortices is identified, bearing strong similarities with the classical self-sustaining cycle in near-wall turbulence. Bifurcations from periodic to chaotic regimes are studied by varying the streamwise length of the (periodic) domain. The resulting bifurcation diagram contains a number of phenomena, e.g. multistability, intermittency and period doubling, usually investigated in the context of low-dimensional systems.
The second part is concerned with spatio–temporal aspects of turbulent ASBL in large domains near the onset of sustained turbulence. Adiabatically decreasing the Reynolds number, starting from a fully turbulent state, we study low-Re turbulence and events leading to laminarisation. Furthermore, a robust quantitative estimate for the lowest Reynolds number at which turbulence is sustained is obtained.
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