Parabolic approach to optimal perturbations in compressible boundary layers

Simone Zuccher, Anatoli Tumin, Eli Reshotko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Optimal perturbations in compressible, non-parallel boundary layers are considered here. The flows past a flat plate and past a sphere are analysed. The governing equations are derived from the linearized Navier-Stokes equations by employing a scaling that relies on the presence of streamwise vortices, which are well-known for being responsible for the 'lift-up' effect. Consequently, the energy norm of the inlet perturbation encompasses the wall-normal and spanwise velocity components only. The effect of different choices of the energy norm at the outlet is studied, testing full (all velocity components and temperature) and partial (streamwise velocity and temperature only) norms. Optimal perturbations are computed via an iterative algorithm completely derived in the discrete framework. The latter simplifies the derivation of the adjoint equations and the coupling conditions at the inlet and outlet. Results for the flat plate show that when the Reynolds number is of the order of 103, a significant difference in the energy growth is found between the cases of full and partial energy norms at the outlet. The effect of the wall temperature is in agreement with previous parallel-flow results, with cooling being a destabilizing factor for both flat plate and sphere. Flow divergence, which characterizes the boundary layer past the sphere, has significant effects on the transient growth phenomenon. In particular, an increase of the sphere radius leads to a larger transient growth, with stronger effects in the vicinity of the stagnation point. In the range of interesting values of the Reynolds number that are typical of wind tunnel tests and flight conditions for a sphere, no significant role is played by the wall-normal and streamwise velocity components at the outlet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-216
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 10 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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