Theoretical and Computational Fluid Dynamics

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 325–347 | Cite as

Görtler Vortices with System Rotation

  • Alessandro Bottaro
  • Barbro G. B. Klingmann
  • Abdelfattah Zebib


The steady primary instability of Görtler vortices developing along a curved Blasius boundary layer subject to spanwise system rotation is analysed through linear and nonlinear approaches, to clarify issues of vortex growth and wavelength selection, and to pave the way to further secondary instability studies.

A linear marching stability analysis is carried out for a range of rotation numbers, to yield the (predictable) result that positive rotation, that is rotation in the sense of the basic flow, enhances the vortex development, while negative rotation dampens the vortices. Comparisons are also made with local, nonparallel linear stability results (Zebib and Bottaro, 1993) to demonstrate how the local theory overestimates vortex growth. The linear marching code is then used as a tool to predict wavelength selection of vortices, based on a criterion of maximum linear amplification.

Nonlinear finite volume numerical simulations are performed for a series of spanwise wave numbers and rotation numbers. It is shown that energy growths of linear marching solutions coincide with those of nonlinear spatially developing flows up to fairly large disturbance amplitudes. The perturbation energy saturates at some downstream position at a level which seems to be independent of rotation, but that increases with the spanwise wavelength. Nonlinear simulations performed in a long (along the span) cross section, under conditions of random inflow disturbances, demonstrate that: (i) vortices are randomly spaced and at different stages of growth in each cross section; (ii) “upright” vortices are the exception in a universe of irregular structures; (iii) the average nonlinear wavelengths for different inlet random noises are close to those of maximum growth from the linear theory; (iv) perturbation energies decrease initially in a linear filtering phase (which does not depend on rotation, but is a function of the inlet noise distribution) until coherent patches of vorticity near the wall emerge and can be amplified by the instability mechanism; (v) the linear filter represents the receptivity of the flow: any random noise, no matter how strong, organizes itself linearly before subsequent growth can take place; (vi) the Görtler number, by itself, is not sufficient to define the state of development of a vortical flow, but should be coupled to a receptivity parameter; (vii) randomly excited Görtler vortices resemble and scale like coherent structures of turbulent boundary layers.


Vortex Vorticity Random Noise System Rotation Rotation Number 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alessandro Bottaro
    • 1
  • Barbro G. B. Klingmann
    • 1
  • Abdelfattah Zebib
    • 1
  1. 1.IMHEF-DGM, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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