Experiments on the structure and scaling of hypersonic turbulent boundary layers

Owen J.H. Williams, Dipankar Sahoo, Mark L. Baumgartner, Alexander J. Smits

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Particle image velocimetry and filtered Rayleigh scattering experiments were performed over a range of Reynolds numbers to study the scaling and structure of a smooth, flat-plate turbulent boundary layer with a free stream Mach number of 7.5. The measurements indicate few, if any, dynamic differences due to Mach number. Mean and fluctuating streamwise velocities in the outer layer show strong similarity to incompressible flows at comparable Reynolds numbers when scaled according to van Driest and Morkovin. In addition, correlation lengths and structure angles based on velocity statistics were found to be less sensitive to compressibility than indicated by previous studies based on density fields or mass-weighted statistics, suggesting that the density and velocity fields obey different scaling. Finally, the boundary layer displays uniform momentum zones, with the number of these zones similar to incompressible boundary layers at comparable Reynolds numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-270
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 10 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


  • boundary layer structure
  • compressible boundary layers
  • turbulent boundary layers


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