The effects of initial conditions on grid turbulence are investigated for low to moderate Reynolds numbers. Four grid geometries are used to yield variations in initial conditions and a secondary contraction is introduced to improve the isotropy of the turbulence. The hot-wire measurements, believed to be the most detailed to date for this flow, indicate that initial conditions have a persistent impact on the large-scale organization of the flow over the length of the tunnel. The power-law coefficients, determined via an improved method, also depend on the initial conditions. For example, the power-law exponent m is affected by the various levels of large-scale organization and anisotropy generated by the different grids and the shape of the energy spectrum at low wavenumbers. However, the results show that these effects are primarily related to deviations between the turbulence produced in the wind tunnel and true decaying homogenous isotropic turbulence (HIT). Indeed, when isotropy is improved and the intensity of the large-scale periodicity, which is primarily associated with round-rod grids, is decreased, the importance of initial conditions on both the character of the turbulence and m is diminished. However, even in the case where the turbulence is nearly perfectly isotropic, m is not equal to −1, nor does it show an asymptotic trend in x towards this value, as suggested by recent analysis. Furthermore, the evolution of the second- and third-order velocity structure functions satisfies equilibrium similarity only approximately.
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