Leading-edge effects in bypass transition.

*(English)*Zbl 1145.76025Summary: The effect of a blunt leading edge on bypass transition is studied by numerical simulation. A mixed direct and large eddy simulation of a flat plate with a super-ellipse leading edge is carried out at various conditions. Onset and completion of transition is seen to move upstream with increasing bluntness. For sharper leading edges, at lower levels of turbulence, transition usually occurs through instabilities on low-speed streaks as observed by R. G. Jacobs and P. A. Durbin [ibid. 428, 185–212 (2001; Zbl 0983.76027)] and L. Brandt et al. [ibid. 517, 167–198 (2004; Zbl 1131.76326)] whereas increasing either the turbulence intensity or the leading-edge bluntness brings into play another mechanism. Free-stream vortices are amplified at the leading edge because of stretching. In the case of particularly strong vortices, this interaction induces a localized streamwise vortical disturbance in the boundary layer which then grows as it convects downstream and eventually breaks down to form a turbulent spot. These disturbances, which are localized and hence wavepacket-like, move at speeds in the range \(0.55 U_{\infty}-0.65 U_{\infty}\) and occur in the lower portion of the boundary layer. Simulations conducted with isolated vortices confirm such a response of the boundary layer.