Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Coherent structures in direct numerical simulation of turbulent boundary layers at Mach 3


a1 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, Princeton University, Engineering Quad, Olden St, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA


We demonstrate that data from direct numerical simulation of turbulent boundary layers at Mach 3 exhibit the same large-scale coherent structures that are found in supersonic and subsonic experiments, namely elongated, low-speed features in the logarithmic region and hairpin vortex packets. Contour plots of the streamwise mass flux show very long low-momentum structures in the logarithmic layer. These low-momentum features carry about one-third of the turbulent kinetic energy. Using Taylor's hypothesis, we find that these structures prevail and meander for very long streamwise distances. Structure lengths on the order of 100 boundary layer thicknesses are observed. Length scales obtained from correlations of the streamwise mass flux severely underpredict the extent of these structures, most likely because of their significant meandering in the spanwise direction. A hairpin-packet-finding algorithm is employed to determine the average packet properties, and we find that the Mach 3 packets are similar to those observed at subsonic conditions. A connection between the wall shear stress and hairpin packets is observed. Visualization of the instantaneous turbulence structure shows that groups of hairpin packets are frequently located above the long low-momentum structures. This finding is consistent with the very large-scale motion model of Kim & Adrian (1999).

(Received February 15 2007)

(Revised August 10 2007)