Characteristics of sources and sinks of momentum in a turbulent boundary layer

Daniele Fiscaletti, Bharathram Ganapathisubramani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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In turbulent boundary layers, the wall-normal gradient of the Reynolds shear stress identifies momentum sources and sinks (T = ∂[−uv]/∂y). These motions can be physically interpreted in two ways i.) as contributors to the turbulence term balancing the mean momentum equation, and ii.) as regions of strong local interaction between velocity and vorticity fluctuations. In this paper, the space-time evolution of momentum sources and sinks are investigated in a turbulent boundary layer at the Reynolds number (Reτ ) = 2700, with time-resolved planar particle image velocimetry in a plane along the streamwise and wall-normal directions. Wavenumber-frequency power spectra of T fluctuations reveal that the wave velocities of momentum sources and sinks tend to match the local streamwise velocity in proximity to the wall. However, as the distance from the wall increases, the wave velocities of the T events are slightly lower than the local streamwise velocities of the flow, which is also confirmed from the tracking in time of the intense momentum sources and sinks. This evidences that momentum sources and sinks are preferentially located in low-momentum regions of the flow. The spectral content of the T fluctuations is maximum at the wall, but it decreases monotonically as the distance from the wall grows. The relative spectral contributions of the different wavelengths remains unaltered at varying wall-normal locations. From autocorrelation coefficient maps, the characteristic streamwise and wall-normal extents of the T motions are respectively 60 and 40 wall-units, independent of the wall distance. Both statistics and instantaneous visualizations show that momentum sources and sinks have a preferential tendency to be organized in positive-negative pairs in the wall-normal direction.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number054601
Early online date3 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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