Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Three-dimensional simulations of large eddies in the compressible mixing layer

N. D.  Sandham a1 and W. C.  Reynolds a2
a1 DLR, Institute for Theoretical Fluid Mechanics, Gottingen, Germany
a2 Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA and NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA

Article author query
sandham nd   [Google Scholar] 
reynolds wc   [Google Scholar] 


The effect of Mach number on the evolution of instabilities in the compressible mixing layer is investigated. The full time-dependent compressible Navier–Stokes equations are solved numerically for a temporally evolving mixing layer using a mixed spectral and high-order finite difference method. The convective Mach number Mc (the ratio of the velocity difference to the sum of the free-stream sound speeds) is used as the compressibility parameter. Simulations with random initial conditions confirm the prediction of linear stability theory that at high Mach numbers (Mc > 0.6) oblique waves grow more rapidly than two-dimensional waves. Simulations are then presented of the nonlinear temporal evolution of the most rapidly amplified linear instability waves. A change in the developed large-scale structure is observed as the Mach number is increased, with vortical regions oriented in a more oblique manner at the higher Mach numbers. At convective Mach numbers above unity the two-dimensional instability is found to have little effect on the flow development, which is dominated by the oblique instability waves. The nonlinear structure which develops from a pair of equal and opposite oblique instability waves is found to resemble a pair of inclined A-vortices which are staggered in the streamwise direction. A fully nonlinear computation with a random initial condition shows the development of large-scale structure similar to the simulations with forcing. It is concluded that there are strong compressibility effects on the structure of the mixing layer and that highly three-dimensional structures develop from the primary inflexional instability of the flow at high Mach numbers.

(Published Online April 26 2006)
(Received January 24 1990)
(Revised August 6 1990)