Journal of Fluid Mechanics

A method for integrating the boundary-layer equations through a region of reverse flow

J. B.  Klemp a1p1 and Andreas  Acrivos a1
a1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Article author query
klemp jb   [Google Scholar] 
acrivos a   [Google Scholar] 


If a region of reverse flow remains confined within a boundary layer the conventional boundary-layer equations should continue to apply downstream of the point of detachment of the surface streamline (ω = 0). Nevertheless, standard numerical techniques fail in the presence of backflow since these methods become highly unstable and, in addition, neglect the upstream flow of information. A procedure for numerically integrating the boundary-layer equations through a region of reverse flow which takes downstream influence into account is therefore presented. This method is then applied to the problem of uniform flow past a parallel flat plate of finite length whose surface has a constant velocity directed opposite to that of the main stream. Although singularities occur at both the point of detachment (xs) and reattachment (xr) of the ω = 0 streamline, this integration technique provides a solution which ceases to apply only in the close proximity of these singular points. From this solution it is evident that, throughout a large portion of the separated region, the flow is strongly affected by conditions near xr, thereby demonstrating the importance of allowing information to be transmitted upstream in a region of backflow. Near (xs), however, it is found that, in spite of the presence of reverse flow, the solution has a self-similar form in this particular example.

(Published Online March 29 2006)
(Received July 19 1971)

p1 Present Address: National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado.

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