Flow, Turbulence and Combustion

, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 1–25 | Cite as

Effects of Compressibility and Shock-Wave Interactions on Turbulent Shear Flows

  • Neil D. Sandham


Compressibility effects are present in many practical turbulent flows, ranging from shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions on the wings of aircraft operating in the transonic flight regime to supersonic and hypersonic engine intake flows. Besides shock wave interactions, compressible flows have additional dilatational effects and, due to the finite sound speed, pressure fluctuations are localized and modified relative to incompressible turbulent flows. Such changes can be highly significant, for example the growth rates of mixing layers and turbulent spots are reduced by factors of more than three at high Mach number. The present contribution contains a combination of review and original material. We first review some of the basic effects of compressibility on canonical turbulent flows and attempt to rationalise the differing effects of Mach number in different flows using a flow instability concept. We then turn our attention to shock-wave/boundary-layer interactions, reviewing recent progress for cases where strong interactions lead to separated flow zones and where a simplified spanwise-homogeneous problem is amenable to numerical simulation. This has led to improved understanding, in particular of the origin of low-frequency behaviour of the shock wave and shown how this is coupled to the separation bubble. Finally, we consider a class of problems including side walls that is becoming amenable to simulation. Direct effects of shock waves, due to their penetration into the outer part of the boundary layer, are observed, as well as indirect effects due to the high convective Mach number of the shock-induced separation zone. It is noted in particular how shock-induced turning of the detached shear layer results in strong localized damping of turbulence kinetic energy.


Compressible turbulence Shock waves Boundary-layers 



The author would like to thank Bo Wang and Satya Jammy for providing databases for the 3D SWBLI case. Data statement: No additional data was generated in this work. Funding: This work would not have been possible wthout the continued support of the UK Turbulence Consortium, under grants EP/G069581/1 and EP/L000261/1. Conflict of interest: The author declares that he has no conflict of interest. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the 9th International Symposium on Turbulence and Shear Flow Phenomena (TSFP-9) Conference, June 30th to July 3rd 2015, Melbourne, Australia.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Group, Faculty of Engineering and the EnvironmentUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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