Structure of the thermal boundary layer in turbulent channel flows at transcritical conditions

J. Guo, X. I.A. Yang, M. Ihme

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10 Scopus citations


Enhanced fluctuations, steep gradients, and intensified heat transfer are characteristics of wall-bounded turbulence at transcritical conditions. Although such conditions are prevalent in numerous technical applications, the structure of the thermal boundary layer under realistic density gradients and heating conditions remains poorly understood. Specifically, statistical descriptions of the temperature field in such flows are provided inconsistently using existing models. To address this issue, direct numerical simulations are performed by considering fully developed transcritical turbulent channel flow at pressure and temperature conditions that cause density changes of a factor of up to between the hot and cold walls. As a consequence of the proximity of the Widom line to the hot wall, significant asymmetries are observed when comparing regions near the cold wall and near the hot wall. Previous transformations that attempt to collapse the near-wall mean temperature profiles among different cases to a single curve are examined. By addressing model deficiencies of these transformations, a formulation for an improved mean temperature transformation is proposed, with appropriate considerations for real fluid effects that involve strong variations in thermodynamic quantities. Our proposed transformation is shown to perform well in collapsing the slope of the logarithmic region to a single universal value with reduced uncertainty. Coupled with a predictive framework to estimate the non-universal shift parameter of the logarithmic region using a priori information, our transformation provides an analytic profile to model the near-wall mean temperature. These results thus provide a framework to guide the development of models for wall-bounded transcritical turbulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA45
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Mar 10 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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