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Response of supersonic turbulent boundary layers to local and global mechanical distortions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 July 2009

Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, CA 94511-9056, USA
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3141, USA
DARPA, Arlington, VA 22203-1714, USA
Innovative Scientific Solutions Inc., Dayton, OH 45440-3638, USA
Email address for correspondence:


The response of the mean and turbulent flow structure of a supersonic high-Reynolds-number turbulent boundary layer flow subjected to local and global mechanical distortions was experimentally examined. Local disturbances were introduced via small-scale wall patterns, and global distortions were induced through streamline curvature-driven pressure gradients. Local surface topologies included k-type diamond and d-type square elements; a smooth wall was examined for comparison purposes. Three global distortions were studied with each of the three surface topologies. Measurements included planar contours of the mean and fluctuating velocity via particle image velocimetry, Pitot pressure profiles, pressure sensitive paint and Schlieren photography. The velocity data were acquired with sufficient resolution to characterize the mean and turbulent flow structure and to examine interactions between the local surface roughness distortions and the imposed pressure gradients on the turbulence production. A strong response to both the local and global distortions was observed with the diamond elements, where the effect of the elements extended into the outer regions of the boundary layer. It was shown that the primary cause for the observed response was the result of local shock and expansion waves modifying the turbulence structure and production. By contrast, the square elements showed a less pronounced response to local flow distortions as the waves were significantly weaker. However, the frictional losses were higher for the blunter square roughness elements. Detailed quantitative characterizations of the turbulence flow structure and the associated production mechanisms are described herein. These experiments demonstrate fundamental differences between supersonic and subsonic rough-wall flows, and the new understanding of the underlying mechanisms provides a scientific basis to systematically modify the mean and turbulence flow structure all the way across supersonic boundary layers.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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