It has been suggested that hairpin vortices may play a key role in developing and sustaining the turbulence process in the near-wall region of turbulent boundary layers. To examine this suggestion, a study was done of the hairpin vortices generated by the interaction of a hemisphere protuberancee within a developing laminar boundary layer. Under the proper conditions, hairpin vortices are shed extremely periodically, which allows detailed examination of their behaviour. Shedding characteristics of the hemispheres were determined using hot-film-anemometry techniques. The flow patterns created by the presence of the hairpin vortices have been documented using flow visualization and hot-film-anemometry techniques, and cross-compared with the patterns observed in the near-wall of a fully turbulent boundary layer. In general, it has been observed that many of the visual patterns observed in the near-wall region of a turbulent boundary layer can also be observed in the wake of the hairpin-shedding hemisphere, which appears supportive of the importance of hairpin vortices in the near-wall turbulence production process. Furthermore, velocity measurements indicate the presence of strong inflexional profiles just downstream of the hairpin-vortex generation region which evolve into fuller profiles with downstream distance, eventually developing a remarkable similarity to a turbulent-boundary-layer velocity profile.
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