Three-dimensional structure of a low-Reynolds-number turbulent boundary layer

Carl J. Delo, Richard M. Kelso, Alexander J. Smits

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37 Scopus citations


A low-Reynolds-number zero-pressure-gradient incompressible turbulent boundary layer was investigated using a volumetric imaging technique. The Reynolds number based on momentum thickness was 700. The flow was tagged with a passive scalar from two spanwise dye slots to distinguish between fluid motions originating in the inner and outer portions of the boundary layer. The resulting volumetric scalar field was interrogated using a laser sheet scanner developed for this study. Two- and three-dimensional time-dependent visualizations of a 50 volume time series are presented (equivalent to 17δ in length). In the outer portion of the boundary layer, scalar structures were observed to lie along lines in the (x, z)-plane, inclined to the streamwise (x-)direction in the range ±50°. The ejection of brightly dyed fluid packets from the near-wall region was observed to be spatially organized, and related to the passage of the large-scale scalar structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-83
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Aug 10 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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