Wall-Attached and wall-detached eddies in wall-bounded turbulent flows

Ruifeng Hu, Xiang I.A. Yang, Xiaojing Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


According to Townsend's attached eddy hypothesis (AEH), a boundary layer flow is comprised of wall-Attached eddies, but to extract the part of the flow whose statistical behaviours are well described by the AEH is not at all straightforward. The objective of this work is to extract the part of the flow that can be described by the AEH, and study the statistical behaviours of the other part, which cannot be described by the AEH. In this process, two types of eddies are identified in addition to the Kolmogorov-scale eddies, i.e. wall-Attached eddies and wall-detached eddies. The statistical behaviours of the wall-Attached eddies are shown to be very well described by the AEH, i.e.The eddies are wall-Attached, self-similar and, importantly, Gaussian, whereas the wall-detached eddies cannot be modelled by the AEH. Specifically, a decomposition scheme is proposed following Townsend (The Structure of Turbulent Shear Flow, Cambridge University Press, 1976). We apply our decomposition scheme to three different flows, i.e. channel, boundary layer and atmospheric surface layer flows. The results are similar with only quantitative differences, suggesting possible universality in both the wall-Attached eddies and the wall-detached eddies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA30
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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