Journal of Fluid Mechanics


An experimental investigation of a highly accelerated turbulent boundary layer

C. BOURASSAa1 and F. O. THOMASa1 c1

a1 Center for Flow Physics and Control, Hessert Laboratory, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA


A canonical flat-plate turbulent boundary layer with Reθ = 4590 is exposed to a favourable mean streamwise pressure gradient sufficient to cause relaminarization. The favourable pressure gradient is generated by a linear contraction, yielding a peak value of the acceleration parameter of K = 4.4 × 10−6 which is sustained for approximately 13 local boundary layer thicknesses. The relaminarization process is characterized by an extensive series of mean flow and turbulence measurements obtained at several representative streamwise locations. In anticipation of the loss of standard log-law behaviour, the local wall shear stress is directly measured using the oil-film interferometry technique. Mean flow measurements show a systematic variation in the Kármán and additive constants with applied streamwise strain rate. The series of measurements also indicate an apparent decoupling of the outer and near-wall regions of the accelerating boundary layer. In accord with this, conditional measurements show that fourth-quadrant sweep events are virtually eliminated, while much less frequent but larger-amplitude near-wall second-quadrant ejection events remain. The reduction in fourth-quadrant sweep events is matched by an observed increase in near-wall third-quadrant events. The consequent reduction in near-wall Reynolds stress correlation and associated cross-stream momentum transport results in a large reduction in cf for the relaminarized flow.

(Received April 02 2007)

(Revised March 25 2009)


c1 Email address for correspondence: