Theory on Instability and Transition

  • Frank T. Smith
Part of the ICASE/NASA LaRC Series book series (ICASE/NASA)


This research is concerned with the fundamental fluid dynamics governing instability and transition to turbulence in boundary layers. In particular, rational theory plays a key role in exploring the major aspects of nonlinear dynamics which are central to the transition process and to turbulent boundary-layer phenomena. These aspects include three-dimensionality, intermittency, bursting, gradual transition, by-pass transition, scale cascades, and interaction. The theory takes advantage of the fact that the Reynolds numbers of most practical interest in transition and turbulence are enormous, thus pointing immediately to the use and relevance of scaling analysis, the starting point of the viscous-inviscid interaction theory. The theory moreover appears at its most powerful, and useful, in the nonlinear regime which is the key area. In principle, all the major aspects above can then be captured and explained theoretically in terms of their scales and their interactions with different parts of the flowfield; the beginnings for such explanations are contained in some of the references cited below. The highlights of the research, mainly into the nonlinear three-dimensional (3D) unsteady fluid dynamics of transitional boundary layers, and the aims, are summarized below.


Boundary Layer Turbulent Boundary Layer Nonlinear Theory Vortex Flow Viscous Sublayer 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank T. Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity College LondonLondonEngland

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