Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Transition to turbulence in the free convection boundary layers on an inclined heated plate

D. J.  Tritton a1
a1 Department of Aeronautical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

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An experimental study has been made of transition to turbulence in the free convective flows on a heated plate. Observations have been made with the plate vertical and inclined at angles up to about 50° to the vertical, both above and below the plate. A fibre anemometer was used to survey the region of intermittent turbulence. Information has thus been obtained about the range of Grashof numbers over which transition takes place. Even when the plate is vertical the region of intermittent turbulence is long. When it is inclined, this region becomes still longer in the flow below the plate as a result of the stabilizing stratification, a Richardson number effect. It is possible to have a whole flow such that it should be described as transitional, not laminar or turbulent. It was noticed that in this flow and the vertical plate one, the velocity during the laminar periods could be either of two characteristic values, one of them close to zero. The behaviour above an inclined plate could be interpreted largely as a trend towards the behaviour described in a preceding paper.

The observations on the stably stratified flow help to explain a feature of glacier winds.

(Published Online March 28 2006)
(Received September 11 1962)