Sinuous breakdown in a flat plate boundary layer exposed to free-stream turbulence

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In a flat plate boundary layer, perturbed with streaks, breakdown occurs due to a secondary instability acting on the streaks. An experimental study using a water channel with static turbulence grid, revealed the presence of a sinuous secondary instability mode in the bypass transition process. Five sinuous instabilities are investigated in detail in the horizontal plane. The streamwise length scale of the sinuous instability is around $40\delta^*_{300}$ and the spanwise scale equals around $\delta^*_{300}$. Four main features are found in the underlying streak configuration and developing streak-streak interactions. Firstly, all instabilities arise in a streak configuration where two low speed streaks are located at a small spanwise distance from each other. Patches of low speed fluid (forming a discontinuity in the streak pattern) are present in the high speed streaks surrounding the unstable low speed streak. As a consequence of the streak-streak interactions at the discontinuities vortices arise in a staggered configuration. Finally, the vortices develop into three-dimensional structures after which the flow falls apart into smaller three-dimensional flow regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)088101-1/4
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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