Coherent structures and control in wall-bounded turbulent flows
Time: Mon 2021-06-14 10.30
Subject area: Engineering Mechanics
Doctoral student: Marco Atzori , Engineering Mechanics, SimEx/FLOW
Opponent: Assoc. Prof. Oscar Flores, Dept. Bioingenierıa e Ing. Aeroespacial, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Supervisor: Philipp Schlatter, Ricardo Vinuesa
This thesis is concerned with two distinct topics related to the study of wall-bounded turbulence: the connection between instantaneous three-dimensional coherent structures and mean-flow properties, and the development and analysis of pre-determined control techniques for adverse-pressure-gradient boundary layers.
We examined regions with intense velocity fluctuations in various flowcases. In turbulent ducts, we found that, on the one hand, the specific geometry of the domain has measurable effects on the shape and dimensions of these structures. On the other hand, however, their contribution to the mean secondary flow, which is the main distinguishing feature of turbulent ducts, is not particularly significant. Intense events contribute to the mean velocity in a similar way as in periodic channels, where the secondary flow is not present. Studying adverse- and zero-pressure-gradient turbulent boundary layers, we found that there are qualitative differences in how intense-fluctuation events affect the mean properties of these two flows. Our results suggest that coherent structures may help to explain history effects and development of the outer peak in wall-tangential fluctuations. An efficient algorithm for percolation analysis and an in-situ adaptor for the simulation code Nek5000 and the visualization software Paraview have also been developed as part of this effort.
We also created a new dataset including various combinations of uniform blowing and suction applied to a NACA4412 airfoil, employing high-fidelity numerical simulations and turbulence models. There are significant discrepancies between how the control interacts with turbulence under different pressure-gradient conditions, which illustrates the need of considering test cases as similar as possible to operative conditions in control studies. We also found that the most promising control configuration for a wide range of Reynolds numbers is uniform blowing applied to the airfoil pressure side. In particular, it reduces both pressure and skin-friction drag, resulting in higher aerodynamic efficiency and potential net-energy saving when the actuation cost is included.