Journal of Fluid Mechanics


New perspectives on the impulsive roughness-perturbation of a turbulent boundary layer

I. JACOBIa1 c1 and B. J. McKEONa1

a1 Graduate Aerospace Laboratories, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA


The zero-pressure-gradient turbulent boundary layer over a flat plate was perturbed by a short strip of two-dimensional roughness elements, and the downstream response of the flow field was interrogated by hot-wire anemometry and particle image velocimetry. Two internal layers, marking the two transitions between rough and smooth boundary conditions, are shown to represent the edges of a ‘stress bore’ in the flow field. New scalings, based on the mean velocity gradient and the third moment of the streamwise fluctuating velocity component, are used to identify this ‘stress bore’ as the region of influence of the roughness impulse. Spectral composite maps reveal the redistribution of spectral energy by the impulsive perturbation – in particular, the region of the near-wall peak was reached by use of a single hot wire in order to identify the significant changes to the near-wall cycle. In addition, analysis of the distribution of vortex cores shows a distinct structural change in the flow associated with the perturbation. A short spatially impulsive patch of roughness is shown to provide a vehicle for modifying a large portion of the downstream flow field in a controlled and persistent way.

(Received September 07 2010)

(Revised December 27 2010)

(Accepted February 09 2011)

(Online publication April 26 2011)

Key words:

  • turbulent boundary layers


c1 Email address for correspondence:

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