Journal of Hydrodynamics

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 266–273 | Cite as

The visualization of turbulent coherent structure in open channel flow

  • Xiao-dong Bai
  • Wei ZhangEmail author
  • Qing-he Fang
  • Yong Wang
  • Jin-hai Zheng
  • An-xin Guo
Special Column for Symposium on Vortex Identification Methods and Applications (Guest Editor Yu-Ning Zhang)


Due to its multiscale and multi-layer natures, the coherent structures of turbulent in the open channel flow is complex and difficult to be visualized for understanding its evolution. In this paper, five types of methods for the vortical structure in the fluids, namely the Q - criterion, the vorticity, the Omega method, the velocity-vorticity correlation structures (VVCS) as well as the most recent Rortex method, are adopted to visualize the turbulent flow in the open channel. With the free surface modelled as a free slip boundary, a direct numerical simulation (DNS) is carried out to study the multi-layered flow structure characteristics under the free surface. The visualization results by the Q - criterion, the vorticity, the Omega method and the Rortex are firstly analyzed. Then the turbulent flow layers near the free surface are identified with corresponding anisotropy indices. Afterwards, the VVCS within various turbulence layers are visualized accordingly. This research indicates that the VVCS can straightforwardly show the geometry information of the coherent structures of turbulent in different layers for the open channel flow.

Key words

Open channel flow flow visualization velocity-vorticity coherent structure direct numerical simulation (DNS) 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This work was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2013/2018B56314).


  1. [1]
    Handler R. A., Swean T. F., Leighton R. I. et al. Length scales and the energy balance for turbulence near a free surface [J]. AIAA Journal, 1993, 31(11): 1998–2007.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    Borue V., Orszag S. A., Staroselsky I. Interaction of surface waves with turbulence: direct numerical simulations of turbulent open-channel flow [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 1995, 286: 1–23.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    Shen L., Zhang X., Yue D. K. P. et al. The surface layer for free-surface turbulent flows [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 1999, 386: 167–212.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  4. [4]
    Shen L., Triantafyllou G. S., Yue. D. K. P. Turbulent diffusion near a free surface [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2000, 407: 145–166.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  5. [5]
    Calmet I., Magnaudet J. Statistical structure of highReynolds-number turbulence close to the free surface of an open-channel flow [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2003, 474: 355–378.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    Campagne G., Cazalbou J. B., Joly L. et al. The structure of a statistically steady turbulent boundary layer near a free-slip surface [J]. Physics of Fluids, 2009, 21(6): 65111.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    Perot B., Moin P. Shear-free turbulent boundary layers. Part 1. Physical insights into near-wall turbulence [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 1995, 295: 199–227.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    Fulgosi M., Lakehal D., Banerjee S. et al. Direct numerical simulation of turbulence in a sheared air-water flow with a deformable interface [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2003, 482: 319–345.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    Liu S., Kermani A., Shen L. et al. Investigation of coupled air-water turbulent boundary layers using direct numerical simulations [J]. Physics of Fluids, 2009, 21(6): 062108.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. [10]
    Pan Y., Banerjee S. A numerical study of free-surface turbulence in channel flow [J]. Physics of Fluids, 1995, 7(7): 1649–1664.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    Schmid P. J. Dynamic mode decomposition of numerical and experimental data [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2010, 656: 5–28.MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. [12]
    Berkooz G., Holmes P., Lumley J. L. The proper orthogonal decomposition in the analysis of turbulent flows [J]. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 1993, 25(1): 539–575.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. [13]
    Yang S., Jiang N. Tomographic TR-PIV measurement of coherent structure spatial topology utilizing an improved quadrant splitting method [J]. Science China Physics, Mechanics and Astronomy, 2012, 55(10): 1863–1872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    Chen J., Hussain F., Pei J. et al. Velocity-vorticity correlation structure in turbulent channel flow [J]. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2014, 742: 291–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    Robinson S. K. Coherent motions in the turbulent boundary layer [J]. Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, 1991, 23: 601–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    Hunt J. C. R., Wray A. A., Moin P. Eddies, stream, and convergence zones in turbulent flows [C]. Studying Turbulence Using Numerical Simulation Databases, Proceedings of the 1988 Summer Program, San Francisco, USA, 1988, 193–208.Google Scholar
  17. [17]
    Liu C., Wang Y. Q., Yang Y. et al. New Omega vortex identification method [J]. Science China Physics Mechanics and Astronomy, 2016, 59(89): 684711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    Zhang Y. N., Xu Q., Chen F. P. et al. A selected review of vortex identification methods with applications [J]. Journal of Hydrodynamics, 2018, 30(5): 767–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    Zhang Y., Liu K., Xian H. et al. A review of methods for vortex identification in hydroturbines [J]. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2017, 81(Part 1): 1269–1285.Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    Liu C., Gao Y., Tian S. et al. Rortex a new vortex vector definition and vorticity tensor and vector decompositions [J]. Physics of Fluids, 2018, 30(3): 35103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. [21]
    Gao Y., Liu C. Rortex and comparison with eigenvalue-based vortex identification criteria [J]. Physics of Fluids, 2018, 30(8): 85107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© China Ship Scientific Research Center 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-dong Bai
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Zhang
    • 3
    Email author
  • Qing-he Fang
    • 4
  • Yong Wang
    • 5
  • Jin-hai Zheng
    • 1
    • 2
  • An-xin Guo
    • 4
  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Coastal Disaster and DefenceHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.College of Harbor, Coastal and Offshore EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Science and Technology on Water Jet Propulsion LaboratoryMarine Design and Research Institute of ChinaShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Structural Dynamic Behavior and Control, School of Civil EngineeringHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina
  5. 5.Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-OrganizationGottingenGermany

Personalised recommendations