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Turbulent boundary layers over permeable walls: scaling and near-wall structure

  • C. Manes (a1), D. Poggi (a1) and L. Ridolfi (a1)


This paper presents an experimental study devoted to investigating the effects of permeability on wall turbulence. Velocity measurements were performed by means of laser Doppler anemometry in open channel flows over walls characterized by a wide range of permeability. Previous studies proposed that the von Kármán coefficient associated with mean velocity profiles over permeable walls is significantly lower than the standard values reported for flows over smooth and rough walls. Furthermore, it was observed that turbulent flows over permeable walls do not fully respect the widely accepted paradigm of outer-layer similarity. Our data suggest that both anomalies can be explained as an effect of poor inner–outer scale separation if the depth of shear penetration within the permeable wall is considered as the representative length scale of the inner layer. We observed that with increasing permeability, the near-wall structure progressively evolves towards a more organized state until it reaches the condition of a perturbed mixing layer where the shear instability of the inflectional mean velocity profile dictates the scale of the dominant eddies. In our experiments such shear instability eddies were detected only over the wall with the highest permeability. In contrast attached eddies were present over all the other wall conditions. On the basis of these findings, we argue that the near-wall structure of turbulent flows over permeable walls is regulated by a competing mechanism between attached and shear instability eddies. We also argue that the ratio between the shear penetration depth and the boundary layer thickness quantifies the ratio between such eddy scales and, therefore, can be used as a diagnostic parameter to assess which eddy structure dominates the near-wall region for different wall permeability and flow conditions.


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Present address: Politecnico di Torino, Dipartimento di Idraulica, Trasporti ed Infrastrutture Civili (DITIC), Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, Torino, Italy.



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