Controlling the onset of turbulence by streamwise travelling waves. Part 2. Direct numerical simulation

Binh K. Lieu, Rashad Moarref, Mihailo R. Jovanović

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This study builds on and confirms the theoretical findings of Part 1 of this paper (Moarref & Jovanovi, J. Fluid Mech., 2010, doi:10.1017/ S0022112010003393). We use direct numerical simulation of the Navier-Stokes equations to assess the efficacy of blowing and suction in the form of streamwise travelling waves for controlling the onset of turbulence in a channel flow. We highlight the effects of the modified base flow on the dynamics of velocity fluctuations and net power balance. Our simulations verify the theoretical predictions of Part 1 that the upstream travelling waves promote turbulence even when the uncontrolled flow stays laminar. On the other hand, the downstream travelling waves with parameters selected in Part 1 are capable of reducing the fluctuations' kinetic energy, thereby maintaining the laminar flow. In flows driven by a fixed pressure gradient, a positive net efficiency as large as 25 % relative to the uncontrolled turbulent flow can be achieved with downstream waves. Furthermore, we show that these waves can also relaminarize fully developed turbulent flows at low Reynolds numbers. We conclude that the theory developed in Part 1 for the linearized flow equations with uncertainty has considerable ability to predict full-scale phenomena.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-119
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Nov 25 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support from the National Science Foundation under CAREER Award CMMI-06-44793 and 3M Science and Technology Fellowship (to R.M.) is gratefully acknowledged. The authors also thank Dr J. Gibson for helpful discussions regarding the Channelflow code. The University of Minnesota Supercomputing Institute is acknowledged for providing computing resources.


  • flow control
  • transition to turbulence
  • turbulence control


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