Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Reynolds- and Mach-number effects in canonical shock–turbulence interaction

Johan Larssona1 c1, Ivan Bermejo-Morenoa1 and Sanjiva K. Lelea1

a1 Center for Turbulence Research, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA


The interaction between isotropic turbulence and a normal shock wave is investigated through a series of direct numerical simulations at different Reynolds numbers and mean and turbulent Mach numbers. The computed data are compared to experiments and linear theory, showing that the amplification of turbulence kinetic energy across a shock wave is described well using linearized dynamics. The post-shock anisotropy of the turbulence, however, is qualitatively different from that predicted by linear analysis. The jumps in mean density and pressure are lower than the non-turbulent Rankine–Hugoniot results by a factor of the square of the turbulence intensity. It is shown that the dissipative scales of turbulence return to isotropy within about 10 convected Kolmogorov time scales, a distance that becomes very small at high Reynolds numbers. Special attention is paid to the ‘broken shock’ regime of intense turbulence, where the shock can be locally replaced by smooth compressions. Grid convergence of the probability density function of the shock jumps proves that this effect is physical, and not an artefact of the numerical scheme.

(Received June 22 2012)

(Revised November 05 2012)

(Accepted November 18 2012)

(Online publication February 01 2013)

Key words

  • compressible turbulence;
  • shock waves;
  • turbulent flows


c1 Present address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. Email address for correspondence: