Continuously forced transient growth in oblique breakdown for supersonic boundary layers

Andreas C. Laible, H. F. Fasel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The early nonlinear transition process initiated by a small-amplitude pair of oblique waves is studied using both temporal numerical simulation and theoretical considerations. This investigation is performed under the flow conditions of the experiments by Corke et al. (AIAA J., vol. 40, 2002, pp. 1015-1018) who investigated a sharp 7° cone in the NASA Mach 3.5 Quiet Tunnel. In particular, both the linear and the nonlinear mechanisms prior to transition onset are investigated in great detail as the physics of this regime predetermine the flow topology of the nonlinear transition zone. The objective of this study is (i) to advance the understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms relevant for the early nonlinear transition regime of oblique breakdown and (ii) to make the connection to oblique transition, the incompressible scenario for bypass transition investigated by Schmid & Henningson (Phys. Fluids A, vol. 4, 1992, pp. 1986-1989). The dominance of the longitudinal vortex mode in oblique breakdown is shown to be a consequence of a constantly forced transient growth instability. In particular, the primary pair of oblique waves serves as an 'actuator' that is permanently introducing disturbances into the longitudinal mode where these disturbances exhibit transient growth. The effect of the transient growth instability on the longitudinal mode is to raise its amplitude rather than change the growth rate of this mode.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-350
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Oct 10 2016


  • Boundary layer stability
  • compressible boundary layers
  • transition to turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Continuously forced transient growth in oblique breakdown for supersonic boundary layers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this