Experimental investigation of the near wall flow structure of a low Reynolds number 3-D turbulent boundary layer
Fleming, Jonathan Lee
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Laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) measurements and hydrogen-bubble flow-visualization techniques were used to examine the near-wall flow structure of 2-D and 3-D turbulent boundary layers (TBLs) over a range of low Reynolds numbers. The goals of this research were (1) an increased understanding of the flow physics in the near wall region of turbulent boundary layers, (2) to observe and quantify differences between 2-D and 3-D TBL flow structures, and (3) to document Reynolds number effects for 3-D TBLs. An ultimate application of this work would be to improve turbulence modeling for 3-D flows. The LDV data have provided results detailing the turbulence structure of the 2-D and 3-D TBLs, as well as low uncertainty skin friction estimates. These results include mean Reynolds stress distributions, flow skewing results, and U and V spectra. Effects of Reynolds number for the 3-D flow were examined when possible. Comparison to results with the same 3-D flow geometry but at a significantly higher Reynolds number provided unique insight into the structure of 3-D TBLs. While the 3-D mean and fluctuating velocities were found to be highly dependent on Reynolds number, a previously defined shear stress parameter was discovered to be invariant with Reynolds number. The hydrogen-bubble technique was used as a flow-visualization tool to examine the near-wall flow structure of 2-D and 3-D TBLs. Both the quantitative and qualitative results displayed larger turbulent fluctuations with more highly concentrated vorticity regions for the 2-D flow. The 2-D low-speed streaky structures experienced greater interaction with the outer region high-momentum fluid than observed for the 3-D flow. The near-wall 3-D flow structures were generally more quiescent. Numerical parameters quantified the observed differences, and characterized the low-speed streak and high-speed sweep events. All observations indicated a more stable near-wall flow structure with less turbulent interactions occurring between the inner and log regions for a 3-D TBL.
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