Low Reynolds Number Turbulent Boundary Layers on a Smooth Flat Surface in a Zero Pressure Gradient

  • L. P. Erm
  • A. J. Smits
  • P. N. Joubert


An experimental investigation of low Reynolds number turbulent boundary layers (R θ < 5000) on a smooth flat surface in a nominally zero pressure gradient is described. Stimulator pins of three different heights were used to trip the boundary layer. Mean flow velocity profile measurements were analysed using the method of Coles [2]. This method involved fitting the data to a log-law Une having constants K = 0.41 and C = 5.0 and inferring values of II and u τ . Acceptable low Reynolds number turbulent boundary layers were shown to exist. Broadband turbulence and spectral measurements for R θ = 5010, the highest Reynolds number obtainable in these experiments, were compared, where possible, with other data and the agreement was good. Both mean flow and turbulence results were shown to be dependent on Reynolds number and apparently dependent on the size of the tripping device.


Reynolds Number Turbulence Intensity Turbulent Boundary Layer Reynolds Shear Stress Outer Flow 
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Log-law constant


Local skin friction coefficient


Stream wise wave number, 1/m


Reynolds number based on momentum thickness


Longitudinal component of velocity, m/s


Longitudinal fluctuating component of velocity, m/s


Friction velocity, m/s


Normal fluctuating component of velocity, m/s


Coles “Law of the wake”


Distance from tripping device in longitudinal direction, m


Distance from wall, m


Boundary layer thickness where velocity has 99.5% of its freestream value,m


Hama boundary layer thickness, m


Karman number


Turbulent energy dissipation, m2/s3

η = (v3/ε)1/4)

Kolmogoroff length scale, m


Boundary layer momentum thickness, m


Momentum thickness for the most upstream profile, m


Log, law constant


Kinematic viscosity, m2/s


Profile parameter

y = (vε)1/4)

Kolmogoroff velocity scale, m/s

Φ11 (k1 y))

Energy density per unit k1 y

Φ11 (k1 δ))

Energy density per unit k1 δ

Φ11 (k1 η))

Energy density per unit k1 η


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. P. Erm
    • 1
  • A. J. Smits
    • 2
  • P. N. Joubert
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering DepartmentPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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