Numerical investigation of the turbulent boundary layer over a bump

Xiaohua Wu, Kyle Squires

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Large-eddy simulation (LES) has been used to calculate the flow of a statistically two-dimensional turbulent boundary layer over a bump. Subgrid-scale stresses in the filtered Navie-Stokes equations were closed using the dynamic eddy viscosity model. LES predictions for a range of grid resolutions were compared to the experimental measurements of Webster et al. (1996). Predictions of the mean flow and turbulence intensities are in-good agreement with measurements. The resolved turbulent shear stress is in reasonable agreement with data, though the peak is over-predicted near the trailing edge of the bump. Analysis of the flow confirms the existence of internal layers over the bump surface upstream of the summit and along the downstream trailing flat plate, and demonstrates that the quasi-step increases in skin friction due to perturbations in pressure gradient and surface curvature selectively enhance near-wall shear production of turbulent stresses and are responsible for the formation of the internal layers. Though the flow experiences a strong adverse pressure gradient along the rear surface, the boundary layer is unique in that intermittent detachment occurring near the wall is not followed by mean-flow separation. Certain turbulence characteristics in this region are similar to those previously reported in instantaneously separating boundary layers. The present investigation also explains the driving mechanism for the surprisingly rapid return to equilibrium over the trailing flat plate found in the measurements of Webster et al. (1996), i.e. the simultaneous uninterrupted development of an inner energy-equilibrium region and the monotonie decay of elevated turbulence shear production away from the wall. LES results were also used to examine response of the dynamic eddy viscosity model. While subgridscale dissipation decreases/increases as the turbulence is attenuated/enhanced, the ratio of the (averaged) forward to reverse energy transfers predicted by the model is roughly constant over a significant part of the layer. Model predictions of backscatter, calculated as the percentage of points where the model coefficient is negative, show a rapid recovery downstream similar to the mean-flow and turbulence quantities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-271
Number of pages43
Journaljournal of fluid mechanics
StatePublished - May 10 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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