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Experimental Investigation of Heterogeneous Compressible Shear Layers


Papamoschou, Dimitri (1987) Experimental Investigation of Heterogeneous Compressible Shear Layers. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/M7PQ-Y494.


The compressible, two-dimensional shear layer is investigated experimentally in a novel facility. In this facility, it is possible to flow similar or, dissimilar gases of different densities and to select different Mach numbers for each stream over a wide range of Reynolds numbers. In the current experiments, ten combinations of gases and Mach numbers are studied in which the freestream Mach numbers range from 0.2 to 4, the density ratio varies from 0.2 to 9.2, and the velocity ratio varies from 0.13 to 1. The growth of the turbulent region of the layer is measured by means of pitot pressure profiles obtained at several streamwise locations. The resulting growth rate is estimated to be about 80% of the visual growth rate. The transition from laminar to turbulent flow, as well as the structure of the turbulent layer, are observed with Schlieren photographs of 20 nanosecond duration. Streamwise pressure distribution and total pressures are measured by means of a Scanivalve-pressure transducer system.

An underlying objective of this investigation was the definition of a compressibility-effect parameter that correlates and consolidates the experimental results, especially the turbulent growth rates. A brief analytical investigation of the vortex sheet suggests that such a parameter is the Mach number in a frame of reference moving with the phase speed of the disturbance, called here the convective Mach number. In a similar manner, the convective Mach number of a turbulent shear layer is defined as the one seen by an observer moving with the convective velocity of the dominant waves and structures. It happens to have about the same value for each stream. In the current experiments, it ranges from 0 to 1.9.

The correlations of the growth rate with convective Mach number fall approximately onto one curve when the growth rate is normalized by its incompressible value at the same velocity and density ratios. The normalized growth rate, which is unity for incompressible flow, decreases gradually with increasing convective Mach number, reaching an asymptotic value of about 0.25 for supersonic convective Mach numbers. The above behavior is in qualitative agreement with results of linear stability theory as well as with those of previous, one-stream experiments.

Large-scale structures, resembling those observed in subsonic shear layers, are evident in the Schlieren photographs. It is estimated that the mean structure spacing, normalized by the local thickness, is reduced to about half its incompressible value as the convective Mach number becomes supersonic.

An estimate of the transition Reynolds number has been obtained from the photographs of two shear layers having quite different convective Mach numbers, one low subsonic and the other sonic. In both cases, it is about 2 x 105, based on distance to transition and properties of the high unit Reynolds number stream, thus suggesting that, in this experiment, transition is dominated by instabilities of the wake, rather than of the shear layer.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Aeronautics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Roshko, Anatol
Thesis Committee:
  • Roshko, Anatol (chair)
  • Kubota, Toshi
  • Zukoski, Edward E.
  • Dimotakis, Paul E.
  • Blandford, Roger D.
  • Lees, Lester
Defense Date:14 November 1986
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Rockwell International Corporation TrustUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-12192007-085328
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5067
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:18 Jan 2008
Last Modified:21 Dec 2019 04:41

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