University of Sussex
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Large eddy simulation of separated boundary layer transition under free-stream turbulence

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posted on 2023-06-08, 17:35 authored by Mostafa Langari
Physics of laminar-to-turbulent transition in a separated-reattached flow subjected to two free-stream turbulence levels have been explored using Large-Eddy Simulation (LES). Separation of the laminar boundary layer occurs at a curvature change over a flat plate with a semi-circular leading edge. A numerical trip has been used to generate the targeted free-stream turbulence levels. A dynamic Sub-grid-scale (SGS) model has been employed and excellent agreement has been achieved between the LES results and the experimental data. Detailed investigation of the LES data has been carried out to explore the primary instability mechanism at low (< 0.2%) and high free-stream turbulence (5.6%). The flow visualisations and spectral analysis of the separated shear layer reveal that the two-dimensional Kelvin-Helmholtz instability mode, well known to occur at low free-stream turbulence levels, is bypassed at a higher level leading to earlier breakdown to turbulence. The whole transition process leading to breakdown to turbulence has been revealed clearly by the flow visualisations and the differences between the low and high free-stream turbulence cases are clearly evident. Coherent structures are also visualised using iso-surfaces of the Q-criterion and for the high free-stream turbulence case the spanwise oriented two-dimensional rolls, which are clearly apparent in the low free-stream turbulence case, are not visible anymore. Detailed quantitative comparisons between the present LES results against experimental data and the previous LES results at low free-stream turbulence using a staggered grid have been done and a good agreement has been obtained, indicating that the current LES using a co-located grid with pressure smoothing can predict transitional flows accurately. Comprehensive spectral analysis of the separated shear layer at two free-stream turbulence levels has been performed. Under very low free-stream turbulence condition, a distinct regular vortex shedding and trace of the low-frequency flapping phenomena were detected. Under the higher free-stream turbulence however, a mild high-frequency activity was observed. No low frequency oscillations could be detected.


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University of Sussex

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