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An investigation of structure in a turbulent boundary layer developing on a smooth wall MacAulay, Phillip N.


The structure of a stable smooth wall zero pressure gradient turbulent boundary layer is investigated experimentally in order to determine the dominant outer region structure and to develop a hypothetical generalized boundary layer flow model. Three hot wire configurations, two vertically separated X-wires and a leading straight wire, a horizontal rake of 5 straight wires, and a vertical rake of 5 straight wires were used in the experiments, conducted at Reɵ = 8200. The basis for data reduction procedures came from crosscorrelations and the Variable Interval Time Average (VITA) technique. Three structure types are reported in the literature to be important: streaks and counter rotating streamwise vorticity, wall scaled hairpins or ring vortices, and large scale (0(ઠ)) bulges. A simple pictorial model consisting of three Reɵ dependent interdeveloping stages, which integrate all three structure types, is presented and discussed in relation to the literature and experiments performed. The rake data indicate that the positive ([formula omitted]u/[formula omitted]t) VITA detected velocity front has a scale much larger than that of the wall scaled eddies which typically have a scale of 100-300 y[formula omitted], and that this velocity front exhibits characteristics that are consistent with the trailing velocity front described in the model. The general convection velocity from basic crosscorrelations and the convection velocity of the positive VITA detected velocity front both had values 90-100% of the local mean velocity over most of the boundary layer. Evidence of small scale structure concentration on the downstream edge of the trailing velocity front is presented. A new method used to determine the average structure inclination angle associated with the trailing velocity front is presented and demonstrates that the generalized structure inclination angle, calculated from basic crosscorrelations between vertically separated sensors, does not indicate structure shape, but is associated with the bulk flow associated with the structure. The new method appears to give results that are consistent with flow visualization and more accurately estimates the inclination angle associated with the most dominant feature of the outer flow, the positive VITA velocity front. Although the model presented is somewhat crude and further development and refinement are required, the model appears to agree with most data in the literature, as well as the present experimental results.

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