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Structure evolution at early stage of boundary-layer transition: simulation and experiment. (English) Zbl 07193492
Summary: The beginning of laminar-turbulent transition is usually associated with a wave-like disturbance, but its evolution and role in precipitating the development of other flow structures are not well understood from a structure-based view. Nonlinear parabolized stability equations (NPSE) were solved numerically to simulate the transition of K-regime, N-regime and O-regime. However, only the K-regime transition was examined experimentally using both hydrogen bubble visualization and time-resolved tomographic particle image velocimetry (tomo-PIV). Based on the ‘NPSE visualization’ and ‘tomographic visualization’, at least four common characteristics of the generic transition process were identified: (i) inflectional regions representing high-shear layers (HSL) that develop in vertical velocity profiles, accompanied by ejection-sweep behaviours; (ii) low-speed streak (LSS) patterns, manifested in horizontal timelines, that seem to consist of several three-dimensional (3-D) waves; (iii) a warped wave front (WWF) pattern, displaying multiple folding processes, which develops adjacent to the LSS in the near-wall region, prior to the appearance of \(\Lambda\)-vortices; (iv) a coherent 3-D wave front, similar to a soliton, in the upper boundary layer, accompanied by regions of depression along the flanks of the wave. It was determined that the amplification and lift-up of a 3-D wave causes the development of the HSL, WWF and multiple folding behaviour of material surfaces, that all contribute to the development of a \(\Lambda\)-vortex. The amplified 3-D wave is hypothesized as a soliton-like coherent structure. Based on our results, a path to transition is proposed, which hypothesizes the function of the WWF in boundary-layer transition.

MSC:
76 Fluid mechanics
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