Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2015
Bypass transition in a two-fluid boundary layer is examined using direct numerical simulations (DNSs). A less-viscous wall film is considered and the impact on transition location is evaluated at two different viscosity ratios and free-stream turbulence intensities. The less-viscous wall film absorbs the mean shear from the outer stream, weakens the lift-up mechanism, and alters the disturbance field inside the boundary layer. These effects all favour a delay in the onset of bypass transition. However, the viscosity and mean-shear discontinuities across the two-fluid interface introduce a new mechanism for the generation of wall-normal vorticity in the boundary layer, and can therefore promote transition to turbulence. Conditionally averaged statistics and streak tracking techniques are adopted in order to examine the impact of the wall film on the bypass transition process. It is shown that the weaker amplification of the streaks in the outer fluid can delay breakdown to turbulence, despite the additional disturbance generation at the two-fluid interface. The efficacy of the wall film in delaying transition is demonstrated at moderate level of free-stream turbulence intensity, but is reduced as the turbulence intensity is increased.