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Spatio-Temporal Response of a Compliant-Wall, Turbulent Boundary Layer System to Dynamic Roughness Forcing


Huynh, David Pham (2019) Spatio-Temporal Response of a Compliant-Wall, Turbulent Boundary Layer System to Dynamic Roughness Forcing. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/A5PS-GT54.


This thesis investigates the interaction between an elastic compliant surface and a turbulent boundary layer exposed to dynamic roughness forcing. The goals are to explore a unique perspective of this fluid-structural problem through narrow-band forcing, and to further develop the understanding of dynamic roughness. Water tunnel experiments are designed with flow and surface measurements, both phase-locked to the roughness actuation. This enables a phase-averaged analysis, which leverages the deterministic input to isolate the temporally correlated components of the flow and surface response. Identifying the directly interacting velocity and deformation modes allows the complex, fluid-structural system to be studied in a more tractable, input-output manner.

The first experiment is conducted with a smooth-wall turbulent boundary layer forced by dynamic roughness, and contributes to the knowledge of this type of forcing through structure-resolved particle image velocimetry. This allows for the streamwise-spatial nature and the wall-normal velocity component (v) of the roughness-forced flow to be explored, which had not been previously studied. A spatial amplitude modulation is observed in the synthetic structure and investigated directly through the spatial spectra. Through a parametric study and an empirical fit, the forcing frequency may now be selected to target a particular streamwise length scale.

The second experiment implements a gelatin sample subject to an unforced turbulent boundary layer. The surface response is characterized and serves as a base case with which to identify the roughness-forced component of the deformations. This naturally leads to the third experiment, where the full compliant-wall, dynamic-roughness-forced turbulent boundary layer system is considered. The surface response to the synthetic flow structure is confirmed, which sets the stage for a comparison between the smooth-wall and compliant-wall data to study the effect of the compliant surface.

The smooth/compliant comparison is guided by a resolvent analysis, which predicts a virtual wall feature in the v velocity mode for the elastic material under consideration. Using this prediction to inform a conditional average, the virtual wall is revealed in the experimental data. Thus, the action of the elastic surface is interpreted as opposing the v velocity near the wall, in a manner similar to wall-jet opposition control. Previous experimental studies of viscoelastic compliant surfaces have demonstrated the potential for turbulent drag reduction, though either indirectly via the turbulence intensities or with relatively high skin friction measurement error. A common observation in these studies was the importance of the interaction between the surface and the coherent structures in the flow. To that end, this study has isolated and modeled the behavior of the fluid-structural system with a single spatio-temporal scale generated by dynamic roughness forcing. The results provide a physical interpretation of the effect of an elastic surface on turbulent boundary layer flow structures and informs the ongoing development of a reduced-order modeling tool in the resolvent analysis.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Turbulent boundary layer, compliant surface, dynamic roughness
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Awards:Richard Bruce Chapman Memorial Award, 2019. Donald Coles Prize in Aeronautics, 2019. Ernest E. Sechler Memorial Award in Aeronautics, 2018.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Pullin, Dale Ian (chair)
  • Gharib, Morteza
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
  • Ravichandran, Guruswami
Defense Date:15 April 2019
Non-Caltech Author Email:david.huynh.58 (AT)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR)FA9550-16-1-0361
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-17-1-2960
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04232019-162807004
Persistent URL:
Huynh, David Pham0000-0002-8430-6255
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:11484
Deposited By: David Huynh
Deposited On:14 May 2019 21:38
Last Modified:26 Oct 2023 20:20

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