Analyses of wave-phase variation of Reynolds shear stress underneath surface wave using streamline coordinates

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The dependence of Reynolds shear stress on wave phase is investigated for initially isotropic turbulence distorted by a progressive surface wave through direct numerical simulations. A wave-following streamline coordinate frame is used to analyse the turbulence dynamics such that the information of the varying direction of wave orbital motions is embedded into the coordinate system, which helps capture the effect of flow curvature on the turbulence and quantify momentum exchange between the near-surface and deep regions in the wavy domain accurately. It is found that the Reynolds shear stress is enhanced under the backward slope of the wave and can be scaled by the wave steepness and the streamwise velocity fluctuations. Analyses of the budget of Reynolds shear stress indicate that such a variation with the wave phase is caused by the variation in the production of the Reynolds shear stress and the effect of pressure fluctuations. Further investigation shows that the production of the Reynolds shear stress is closely associated with the wave surface curvature. A model that includes a correction term for the curvature effect for the pressure-strain correlation term is examined and is found to agree reasonably well with the simulation result. The correction term is found to make an appreciable contribution to the model, further supporting our finding that the wave curvature plays an important role in the turbulence dynamics near the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA410
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jan 25 2022

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  • turbulent boundary layers
  • wave-turbulence interactions


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