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On the structure of the self-sustaining cycle in separating and reattaching flows

Cimarelli, Andrea, Leonforte, Adriano and Angeli, Diego 2018. On the structure of the self-sustaining cycle in separating and reattaching flows. Journal of Fluid Mechanics 857 , pp. 907-936. 10.1017/jfm.2018.772

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Abstract

The separating and reattaching flows and the wake of a finite rectangular plate are studied by means of direct numerical simulation data. The large amount of information provided by the numerical approach is exploited here to address the multi-scale features of the flow and to assess the self-sustaining mechanisms that form the basis of the main unsteadinesses of the flows. We first analyse the statistically dominant flow structures by means of three-dimensional spatial correlation functions. The developed flow is found to be statistically dominated by quasi-streamwise vortices and streamwise velocity streaks as a result of flow motions induced by hairpin-like structures. On the other hand, the reverse flow within the separated region is found to be characterized by spanwise vortices. We then study the spectral properties of the flow. Given the strongly inhomogeneous nature of the flow, the spectral analysis has been conducted along two selected streamtraces of the mean velocity field. This approach allows us to study the spectral evolution of the flow along its paths. Two well-separated characteristic scales are identified in the near-wall reverse flow and in the leading-edge shear layer. The first is recognized to represent trains of small-scale structures triggering the leading-edge shear layer, whereas the second is found to be related to a very large-scale phenomenon that embraces the entire flow field. A picture of the self-sustaining mechanisms of the flow is then derived. It is shown that very-large-scale fluctuations of the pressure field alternate between promoting and suppressing the reverse flow within the separation region. Driven by these large-scale dynamics, packages of small-scale motions trigger the leading-edge shear layers, which in turn created them, alternating in the top and bottom sides of the rectangular plate with a relatively long period of inversion, thus closing the self-sustaining cycle.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN: 0022-1120
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 23 September 2018
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 07:40
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/125802

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