Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Structure of a turbulent separation bubble

Masaru  Kiya a1 and Kyuro  Sasaki a1
a1 Faculty of Engineering, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 060, Japan

Article author query
kiya m   [Google Scholar] 
sasaki k   [Google Scholar] 


Flow in the separation bubble formed along the sides of a blunt flat plate with right-angled corners has been studied in terms of extensive single- and two-point measurements of velocity and surface-pressure fluctuations. The cross-correlations between the surface-pressure and velocity fluctuations are found to be useful for the study of large-scale vortex structure in the bubble. Large-scale vortices are shed downstream from the separation bubble with a frequency of about 0.6U[infty infinity]/xR, where U[infty infinity] is the approaching velocity and xR is the time-mean length of the bubble. On top of this regular vortex shedding, there exists a large-scale unsteadiness in the bubble. Vortices which are much larger than the regular vortices are shed with frequencies less than about 0.2U[infty infinity]/xR. The large-scale unsteadiness is accompanied by enlargement and shrinkage of the bubble and also by a flapping motion of the shear layer near the separation line. The intermittent nature of the flow in the bubble is clarified in some detail. The distributions of the cross-correlations between the pressure and velocity fluctuations demonstrate the vortex structure in the reattaching zone. The longitudinal distance between the vortices is estimated to be (0.7–0.8) xR and their convection velocity is about 0.5U[infty infinity] near the reattachment line. The cross-correlations also suggest the existence of a longitudinal counter-rotating system in the bubble. The distance between the axes of the rotation is of the order of 0.6xR. Variations of timescales, lengthscales and phase velocities of the vortices are presented and discussed.

(Published Online April 20 2006)
(Received January 12 1983)
(Revised July 6 1983)