High freestream turbulence effects on turbulent boundary layers

K. A. Thole, D. G. Bogard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


High freestream turbulence levels significantly alter the characteristics of turbulent boundary layers. Numerous studies have been conducted with freestreams having turbulence levels of 7 percent or less, but studies using turbulence levels greater than 10 percent have been essentially limited to the effects on wall shear stress and heat transfer. This paper presents measurements of the boundary layer statistics for the interaction between a turbulent boundary layer and a freestream with turbulence levels ranging from 10 to 20 percent. The boundary layer statistics reported in this paper include mean and rms velocities, velocity correlation coefficients, length scales, and power spectra. Although the freestream turbulent eddies penetrate into the boundary layer at high freestream turbulence levels, as shown through spectra and length scale measurements, the mean velocity profile still exhibits a log-linear region. Direct measurements of total shear stress (turbulent shear stress and viscous shear stress) confirm the validity of the log-law at high freestream turbulence levels. Velocity defects in the outer region of the boundary layer were significantly decreased resulting in negative wake parameters. Fluctuating rms velocities were only affected when the freestream turbulence levels exceeded the levels of the boundary layer generated rms velocities. Length scales and power spectra measurements showed large scale turbulent eddies penetrate to within y+ = 15 of the wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-284
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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