Numerical Study of the Effect of Freestream Turbulence on by-pass Transition in a Boundary Layer
TypeArticles dans des revues avec comité de lecture
We use direct numerical simulations in the presence of free-stream turbulence having different values of intensity, T u, and integral length scale, L, in order to determine which kind of structures are involved in the path to transition of a boundary-layer flow. The main aim is to determine under which conditions the path to transition involves structures similar to the linear or non-linear optimal perturbations. For high values of T u and L, we observe a large-amplitude path to transition characterized by localized vortical structures and patches of high- and low-momentum fluctuations. Such a scenario is found to correlate well with the L and hairpin structures resulting from the time evolution of non-linear optimal perturbations, whereas, for lower T u and L, a larger correlation is found with respect to linear optimal disturbances. This indicates that a large-amplitude path to transition exists, different from the one characterized by elongated streaks undergoing secondary instability. To distinguish between the two transition scenarios, a simple parameter linked to the streamwise localisation of high- and low-momentum zones is introduced. Finally, an accurate law to predict the transition location is provided, taking into account both T u and L, valid for both the transition scenarios.
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