Analysis of fluxes across the turbulent/non-turbulent interface (TNTI) of turbulent boundary layers is performed using data from two-dimensional particle image velocimetry (PIV) obtained at high Reynolds numbers. The interface is identified with an iso-surface of kinetic energy, and the rate of change of total kinetic energy (K) inside a control volume with the TNTI as a bounding surface is investigated. Features of the growth of the turbulent region into the non-turbulent region by molecular diffusion of K, viscous nibbling, are examined in detail, focussing on correlations between interface orientation, viscous stress tensor elements, and local fluid velocity. At the level of the ensemble (Reynolds) averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS), the total kinetic energy K is shown to evolve predominantly due to the turbulent advective fluxes occurring through an average surface which differs considerably from the local, corrugated, sharp interface. The analysis is generalized to a hierarchy of length-scales by spatial filtering of the data as used commonly in Large-Eddy-Simulation (LES) analysis. For the same overall entrainment rate of total kinetic energy, the theoretical analysis shows that the sum of resolved viscous and subgrid-scale advective flux must be independent of scale. Within the experimental limitations of the PIV data, the results agree with these trends, namely that as the filter scale increases, the viscous resolved fluxes decrease while the subgrid-scale advective fluxes increase and tend towards the RANS values at large filter sizes. However, a definitive conclusion can only be made with fully resolved three-dimensional data, over and beyond the large dynamic spatial range presented here. The qualitative trends from the measurement results provide evidence that large-scale transport due to the energy-containing eddies determines the overall rate of entrainment, while viscous effects at the smallest scales provide the physical mechanism ultimately responsible for entrainment. Data spanning over a decade in Reynolds number suggest that the fluxes (or the entrainment velocity) scale with the friction velocity (or equivalently the local turbulent fluctuating velocity), whereas Taylor microscale and boundary-layer thickness are the appropriate length scales at small and large filter sizes, respectively.
Multiscale analysis of fluxes at the turbulent/non-turbulent interface in high Reynolds number boundary layers
Jimmy Philip, Charles Meneveau, Charitha M. de Silva, Ivan Marusic; Multiscale analysis of fluxes at the turbulent/non-turbulent interface in high Reynolds number boundary layers. Physics of Fluids 1 January 2014; 26 (1): 015105. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4861066
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