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Spatio-Temporal Analysis of the Turbulent Boundary Layer and An Investigation of the Effects of Periodic Disturbances


LeHew, Jeffrey Allen (2012) Spatio-Temporal Analysis of the Turbulent Boundary Layer and An Investigation of the Effects of Periodic Disturbances. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/20CM-EV70.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the turbulent boundary layer to learn more about the dynamics of the flow and how it might be controlled through the input of spatially and/or temporally periodic disturbances. The first part of this work studies the structure of a zero-pressure-gradient turbulent boundary layer using time-resolved particle image velocimetry in both wall-normal and wall-parallel planes. Using data from wall-parallel measurements, a 3D spectrum over streamwise, spanwise, and temporal wavelengths was constructed for the first time, a major focus of this work. Among several uses, this spectrum allows the calculation of a scale-based convection velocity, that is, a convection velocity for each streamwise-spanwise scale pair present in the flow. This data set also provided a method for investigating the temporal evolution of coherent structures in the flow, of which, swirling coherent structures (SCS), indicative of vortices, and low-momentum regions were investigated thoroughly. The convection velocity and lifetime of the SCS were measured; using histograms of the SCS convection velocity in multiple wall-parallel planes, it was possible to statistically infer different SCS structures that could be categorized as ``attached'' or ``detached'' from the wall.

A study was also performed on the response of the turbulent boundary layer to a stationary periodic roughness inspired by the scale pattern on the sailfish. The roughness was relatively sparse with element spacing on the order of the boundary layer thickness allowing the measurement of turbulent statistics at different points along the roughness as well as below the crests of the roughness elements, a region not commonly accessible in rough-wall boundary layer studies. The streamwise turbulent statistics were studied using hotwire anemometry from which it was found that while the outer part of the flow remained similar, the near-wall region was perturbed by structures of size similar to the roughness spacing.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Boundary layer, PIV, Roughness, Turbulence, Vortex
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Aeronautics
Awards:Charles D. Babcock Award, 2010
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
Thesis Committee:
  • Colonius, Tim (chair)
  • Gharib, Morteza
  • Pullin, Dale Ian
  • McKeon, Beverley J.
Defense Date:1 May 2012
Non-Caltech Author Email:lehewj (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05232012-142127799
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7067
Deposited By: Jeffrey Lehew
Deposited On:29 May 2012 21:45
Last Modified:25 Oct 2023 22:42

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