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Oblique transition in separated high-speed flows

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TURW04 - Wall-bounded turbulence: beyond current boundaries

We utilize resolvent and weakly nonlinear analyses in combination with direct numerical simulations (DNS) to identify mechanisms for oblique transition in a Mach 5 flow over an adiabatic slender double-wedge. Even though the laminar separated flow is globally stable, resolvent analysis demonstrates significant amplification of unsteady external disturbances. These disturbances are introduced upstream of the separation zone and they lead to the appearance of oblique waves further downstream. We demonstrate that large amplification of oblique waves arises from interactions of the fluctuation shear stress with streamline curvature of the laminar base flow in the separated shear layer. This is in contrast to the attached boundary layers, where no such mechanism exists. We also use a weakly nonlinear analysis to show that the resolvent operator associated with linearization around the laminar base flow governs the evolution of steady reattachment streaks that arise from quadratic interactions of unsteady oblique waves. These quadratic interactions generate vortical excitations in the reattaching shear layer which lead to the formation of streaks in the recirculation zone and their subsequent amplification, breakdown, and transition to turbulence downstream. Our analysis of the energy budget shows that deceleration of the base flow near reattachment is primarily responsible for amplification of steady streaks. Finally, we employ DNS to examine latter stages of transition and demonstrate the predictive power of input-output framework in uncovering triggering mechanisms for oblique transition in separated high-speed boundary layer flows. Joint work with: Anubhav Dwivedi and G. S. Sidharth

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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