Direct numerical simulation of sharkskin denticles in turbulent channel flow

A. Boomsma, Fotis Sotiropoulos

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The hydrodynamic function of sharkskin has been under investigation for the past 30 years. Current literature conflicts on whether sharkskin is able to reduce skin friction similar to riblets. To contribute insights toward reconciling these conflicting views, direct numerical simulations are carried out to obtain detailed flow fields around realistic denticles. A sharp interface immersed boundary method is employed to simulate two arrangements of actual sharkskin denticles (from Isurus oxyrinchus) in a turbulent boundary layer at Reτ ≈ 180. For comparison, turbulent flow over dragreducing scalloped riblets is also simulated with similar flow conditions and with the same numerical method. Although the denticles resemble riblets, both sharkskin arrangements increase total drag by 44%-50%, while the riblets reduce drag by 5%. Analysis of the simulated flow fields shows that the turbulent flow around denticles is highly three-dimensional and separated, with 25% of the total drag being form drag. The complex three-dimensional shape of the denticles gives rise to a mean flow dominated by strong secondary flows in sharp contrast with the mean flow generated by riblets, which is largely two-dimensional. The so resulting three-dimensionality of sharkskin flows leads to an increase in the magnitude of the turbulent statistics near the denticles, which further contributes to increasing the total drag. The simulations also show that, at least for the simulated arrangements, sharkskin, in sharp contrast with drag-reducing riblets, is unable to isolate high shear stress near denticle ridges causing a significant portion of the denticle surface to be exposed to high mean shear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035106
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


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