Stereo particle image velocimetry of nonequilibrium turbulence relaxation in a supersonic boundary layer

Andrew P. Lapsa, Werner J.A. Dahm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Measurements using stereo particle image velocimetry are presented for a developing turbulent boundary layer in a wind tunnel with a Mach 2.75 free stream. As the boundary layer exits from the tunnel nozzle and moves through the wave-free test section, small initial departures from equilibrium turbulence relax, and the boundary layer develops toward the equilibrium zero-pressure-gradient form. This relaxation process is quantified by comparison of first and second order mean, fluctuation, and gradient statistics to classical inner and outer layer scalings. Simultaneous measurement of all three instantaneous velocity components enables direct assessment of the complete turbulence anisotropy tensor. Profiles of the turbulence Mach number show that, despite the M = 2.75 free stream, the incompressibility relation among spatial gradients in the velocity fluctuations applies. This result is used in constructing various estimates of the measured-dissipation rate, comparisons among which show only remarkably small differences over most of the boundary layer. The resulting measured-dissipation profiles, together with measured profiles of the turbulence kinetic energy and mean-flow gradients, enable an assessment of how the turbulence anisotropy relaxes toward its equilibrium zero-pressure-gradient state. The results suggest that the relaxation of the initially disturbed turbulence anisotropy profile toward its equilibrium zero-pressure-gradient form begins near the upper edge of the boundary layer and propagates downward through the defect layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-108
Number of pages20
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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