Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Large-scale features in turbulent pipe and channel flows

J. P. MONTYa1, J. A. STEWARTa1, R. C. WILLIAMSa1 and M. S. CHONGa1

a1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia


In recent years there has been significant progress made towards understanding the large-scale structure of wall-bounded shear flows. Most of this work has been conducted with turbulent boundary layers, leaving scope for further work in pipes and channels. In this article the structure of fully developed turbulent pipe and channel flow has been studied using custom-made arrays of hot-wire probes. Results reveal long meandering structures of length up to 25 pipe radii or channel half-heights. These appear to be qualitatively similar to those reported in the log region of a turbulent boundary layer. However, for the channel case, large-scale coherence persists further from the wall than in boundary layers. This is expected since these large-scale features are a property of the logarithmic region of the mean velocity profile in boundary layers and it is well-known that the mean velocity in a channel remains very close to the log law much further from the wall. Further comparison of the three turbulent flows shows that the characteristic structure width in the logarithmic region of a boundary layer is at least 1.6 times smaller than that in a pipe or channel.

(Received March 04 2007)

(Revised July 17 2007)