Organized structures in a compressible, turbulent boundary layer

Eric F. Spina, Alexander J. Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Experimental results are presented that show the existence of organized structures in a compressible, turbulent boundary layer. Results were obtained using arrays of hot wires and wall pressure transducers in a Mach-3 zero-pressure-gradient boundary layer. The VITA method of conditional sampling was used to deduce average pressure events at the wall and mass flux events throughout the boundary layer these results show qualitative similarity to those found in incompressible flows. By conditioning upon the middle hot wire from a three-wire probe, evidence is found suggesting that structures exist of a height comparable with the boundary-layer thickness. Furthermore, two-point conditional sampling was used to show that an average pressure event could be extracted by conditioning upon mass-flux events. From this procedure we found that the structures maintain their shape as they travel downstream and also that their spanwise extent is very limited. The inferred angle from correlations between two hot wires, and between a hot wire and a wall-pressure transducer, indicate that the average structure is inclined at approximately 45° for a large part of the boundary layer. This result agrees well with structures observed in schlieren photographs of supersonic boundary layers. Measurements of the instantaneous angle show a wide distribution of structure angles, and the general behaviour of the large-scale structures is consistent with the hairpin loop model of wall turbulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-109
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Sep 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Organized structures in a compressible, turbulent boundary layer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this