Investigation of the stability of boundary layers by a finite-difference model of the Navier—Stokes equations

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199 Scopus citations


The stability of incompressible boundary-layer flows on a semi-infinite flat plate and the growth of disturbances in such flows are investigated by numerical integration of the complete Navier–;Stokes equations for laminar two-dimensional flows. Forced time-dependent disturbances are introduced into the flow field and the reaction of the flow to such disturbances is studied by directly solving the Navier–Stokes equations using a finite-difference method. An implicit finitedifference scheme was developed for the calculation of the extremely unsteady flow fields which arose from the forced time-dependent disturbances. The problem of the numerical stability of the method called for special attention in order to avoid possible distortions of the results caused by the interaction of unstable numerical oscillations with physically meaningful perturbations. A demonstration of the suitability of the numerical method for the investigation of stability and the initial growth of disturbances is presented for small periodic perturbations. For this particular case the numerical results can be compared with linear stability theory and experimental measurements. In this paper a number of numerical calculations for small periodic disturbances are discussed in detail. The results are generally in fairly close agreement with linear stability theory or experimental measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)355-383
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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