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Computational study on the internal layer in a diffuser
journal contributionposted on 2006-03-10, 00:00 authored by X Wu, J Schlüter, P Moin, H Pitsch, G Iaccarino, F Ham
We report an internal layer found in the turbulent flow through an asymmetric planar diffuser using large-eddy simulation; we discuss five issues relevant to the internal layer: definition and identification, conditions for occurrence, connection with its outer flow, similarity with other equilibrium flows, and growth. The present internal layer exists in a region with stabilized positive skin friction downstream of a sharp reduction. The streamwise pressure gradient changes suddenly from slightly favourable to strongly adverse at the diffuser throat, and relaxes in a prolonged mildly adverse region corresponding to the skin friction plateau. Development of the internal layer into the outer region is slow, in contrast to the internal layers previously identified from certain external boundary-layer flows where the sudden change in streamwise pressure gradient is from strongly adverse to mildly favourable. Signatures of the internal layer include an inflectional point in the wall-normal profiles of streamwise turbulence intensity, and a well-defined logarithmic slope in the mean streamwise velocity underneath a linear distribution extending to the core region of the diffuser. Some of these characteristics bear a certain resemblance to those existing in the C-type of Couette-Poiseuille turbulent flows. Frequency spectrum results indicate that application of strong adverse pressure gradient at the diffuser throat enhances the low-frequency content of streamwise turbulent fluctuations. Inside the internal layer, the frequency energy spectra at different streamwise locations, but with the same wall-normal coordinate, nearly collapse. Two-point correlations with streamwise, wall-normal and temporal separations were used to examine connections between fluctuations inside the internal layer and those in the core region of the diffuser where the mean streamwise velocity varies linearly with distance from the wall. Galilean decomposition of instantaneous velocity vectors reveals a string of well-defined spanwise vortices outside the internal layer. The internal layer discovered from this study provides qualified support for a conjecture advanced by Azad & Kassab some years ago (Phys. Fluids A, vol. 1, 1989, p. 564).