Experimental characterization of transition region in rotating-disk boundary layer

Siddiqui, M. E.; Mukund, V.; Scott, J.; Pier, B.
March 2013
Physics of Fluids;Mar2013, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p034102
Academic Journal
The three-dimensional boundary layer due to a disk rotating in otherwise still fluid is well known for its sudden transition from a laminar to a turbulent regime, the location of which closely coincides with the onset of local absolute instability. The present experimental investigation focuses on the region around transition and analyses in detail the features that lead from the unperturbed boundary layer to a fully turbulent flow. Mean velocity profiles and high-resolution spectra are obtained by constant-temperature hot-wire anemometry. By carefully analysing these measurements, regions in the flow are identified that correspond to linear, weakly nonlinear, or turbulent dynamics. The frequency that dominates the flow prior to transition is explained in terms of spatial growth rates, derived from the exact linear dispersion relation. In the weakly nonlinear region, up to six clearly identifiable harmonic peaks are found. High-resolution spectra reveal the existence of discrete frequency components that are deemed to correspond to fluctuations stationary with respect to the disk surface. These discrete components are only found in the weakly nonlinear region. By systematically acquiring low- and high-resolution spectra over a range of narrowly spaced radial and axial positions, it is shown that while the transition from laminar to turbulent regimes occurs sharply at some distance from the disk surface, a complex weakly nonlinear region of considerable radial extent continues to prevail close to the disk surface.


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