Predicting Turbulent Spectra in Drag-reduced Flows


In the present work we describe how turbulent skin-friction drag reduction obtained through near-wall turbulence manipulation modifies the spectral content of turbulent fluctuations and Reynolds shear stress with focus on the largest scales. Direct Numerical Simulations (DNS) of turbulent channels up to Re τ = 1000 are performed in which drag reduction is achieved either via artificially removing wall-normal turbulent fluctuations in the vicinity of the wall or via streamwise-travelling waves of spanwise wall velocity. This near-wall turbulence manipulation is shown to modify turbulent spectra in a broad range of scales throughout the whole channel. Above the buffer layer, the observed changes can be predicted, exploiting the vertical shift of the logarithmic portion of the mean streamwise velocity profile, which is a classic performance measure for wall roughness or drag-reducing riblets. A simple model is developed for predicting the large-scale contribution to turbulent fluctuation and Reynolds shear stress spectra in drag-reduced turbulent channels in which a flow control acts at the wall. Any drag-reducing control that successfully interacts with large scales should deviate from the predictions of the present model, making it a useful benchmark for assessing the capability of a control to affect large scales directly.

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M. Quadrio is thanked for the many discussion on the subject.

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Correspondence to Davide Gatti.

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This work is supported by the Priority Programme SPP 1881 Turbulent Superstructures of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Computing time has been provided by the computational resource ForHLR Phase I funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg and DFG (“Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft”).

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Gatti, D., Stroh, A., Frohnapfel, B. et al. Predicting Turbulent Spectra in Drag-reduced Flows. Flow Turbulence Combust 100, 1081–1099 (2018).

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  • Wall turbulence
  • Drag reduction
  • Large-scale structure