a1 DICAT, Università di Genova, Via Montallegro 1, 16145, Genova, Italy
Receptivity is the process which describes how environmental disturbances (such as gusts, acoustic waves or wall roughness) are filtered by a boundary layer and turned into downstream-growing waves. It is closely related to the identification of initial conditions for the disturbances and requires knowledge of the characteristics of the specific external forcing field. Without such a knowledge, it makes sense to focus on worst case scenarios and search for those initial states which maximize the disturbance amplitude at a given downstream position, and hence to identify upper bounds on growth rates, which will be useful in predicting the transition to turbulence. This philosophical approach has been taken by Tempelmann, Hanifi & Henningson (J. Fluid Mech., 2010, vol. 646, pp. 5–37) in a remarkably complete parametric study of ‘optimal disturbances’ for a model of the flow over a swept wing; they pinpoint the crucial importance both of the spatial variation of the flow and of non-modal disturbances, even when the flow is ‘supercritical’ and hence subject to classical ‘normal mode’ instabilities.
In memoriam: Abdel Zebib, mentor and friend.