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Turbulence in intermittent transitional boundary layers and in turbulence spots. (English) Zbl 1415.76279
Summary: Direct numerical simulation data of bypass transition in flat-plate boundary layers are analysed to examine the characteristics of turbulence in the transitional regime. When intermittency is 50% or less, the flow features a juxtaposition of turbulence spots surrounded by streaky laminar regions. Conditionally averaged turbulence statistics are evaluated within the spots, and are compared to standard time averaging in both the transition region and in fully turbulent boundary layers. The turbulent-conditioned root-mean-square levels of the streamwise velocity perturbations are notably elevated in the early transitional boundary layer, while the wall-normal and spanwise components are closer to the levels typical for fully turbulent flow. The analysis is also extended to include ensemble averaging of the spots. When the patches of turbulence are sufficiently large, they develop a core region with similar statistics to fully turbulent boundary layers. Within the tip and the wings of the spots, however, the Reynolds stresses and terms in the turbulence kinetic energy budget are elevated. The enhanced turbulence production in the transition zone, which exceeds the levels from fully turbulent boundary layers, contributes to the higher skin-friction coefficient in that region. Qualitatively, the same observations hold for different spot sizes and levels of free-stream turbulence, except for young spots which do not yet have a core region of developed turbulence.

76F06 Transition to turbulence
76F40 Turbulent boundary layers
76F65 Direct numerical and large eddy simulation of turbulence
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