Self-similarity of the large-scale motions in turbulent pipe flow

Leo H.O. Hellström, Ivan Marusic, Alexander J. Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Townsend's attached eddy hypothesis assumes the existence of a set of energetic and geometrically self-similar eddies in the logarithmic layer in wall-bounded turbulent flows, which can be scaled with their distance to the wall. To examine the possible self-similarity of the energetic eddies in fully developed turbulent pipe flow, we performed stereo particle image velocimetry measurements together with a proper orthogonal decomposition analysis. For two Reynolds numbers, Reτ = 1330 and 2460, the resulting modes/eddies were shown to exhibit self-similar behaviour for eddies with wall-normal length scales spanning a decade. This single length scale provides a complete description of the cross-sectional shape of the self-similar eddies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Mar 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • boundary layer structure
  • pipe flow boundary layer
  • turbulence modelling


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