Visualization of the structure of supersonic turbulent boundary layers

M. W. Smith, A. J. Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


A series of flow visualizations has been performed on two flat-plate zero-pressure-gradient supersonic boundary layers. The two different boundary layers had moderate Mach numbers of 2.8 and 2.5 and Reθ's of 82, 000 and 25, 000 respectively. A number of new visualization techniques were applied. One was a variation of conventional schlieren employing "selective cut-off" at the knife edge plane. Motion pictures of the flow were generated with this technique. Droplet seeding was also used to mark the flow, and high speed movies were made to show structure evolution. Still pictures were also taken to show details within the large-scale motions. Finally, Rayleigh scattering was used to construct planar images of the flow. Together, these techniques provide detailed information regarding the character and kinematics of the large-scale motions appearing in boundary layers in supersonic flow. Using these data, in concert with existing hot-wire data, some suggestions are made regarding the characteristics of the "average" large-scale motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-302
Number of pages15
JournalExperiments in Fluids
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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