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Large-scale motions in turbulent boundary layers subjected to adverse pressure gradients

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2016

Jae Hwa Lee*
School of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, UNIST, 50 UNIST-gil, Eonyang-eup, Ulsan 44919, Korea
Email address for correspondence:


It is known that large-scale streamwise velocity-fluctuating structures ($u^{\prime }$) are frequently observed in the log region of a zero pressure gradient turbulent boundary layer, and that these motions significantly influence near-wall small-scale $u^{\prime }$-structures by modulating the amplitude (Hutchins & Marusic, J. Fluid Mech., vol. 579, 2007, pp. 1–28; Mathis et al., J. Fluid Mech., vol. 628, 2009, pp. 311–337). In the present study, we provide evidence that the spatial organization of large-scale structures in the log region is significantly influenced by the strength of adverse pressure gradients in turbulent boundary layers based on a direct numerical simulation dataset. For a mild adverse pressure gradient boundary layer flow, groups of hairpin vortices are coherently aligned in the streamwise direction to form hairpin vortex packets, and streamwise merging events of the induced large-scale $u^{\prime }$-structures create a larger streamwise length scale of structures than that for a zero pressure gradient boundary layer flow. As the pressure gradient strength increases further, however, the formation of hairpin packets is continuously suppressed, and large-scale motions are consequently not concatenated to create a longer motion, resulting in a significant reduction of the streamwise coherence of large-scale structures in the log layer. Although energy spectrum maps for $u^{\prime }$-structures show that the large-scale energy is continuously intensified above the log layer with an increase in the pressure gradient, amplitude modulation of the near-wall small-scale motions is dominantly induced by log region large-scale structures for adverse pressure gradient flows. Conditional averaged flow fields with large-scale Q2 and Q4 events indicate that large-scale counter-rotating roll modes play an important role in organizing the flows under the pressure gradients, and the large-scale roll modes associated with Q4 events are more enhanced in the outer layer than those associated with Q2 events, reducing the streamwise coherence of the vortices in a packet.

© 2016 Cambridge University Press 

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