Dispersive stresses in turbulent flow over riblets

Davide Modesti, Sebastian Endrikat, Nicholas Hutchins, Daniel Chung

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We carry out direct numerical simulations of turbulent flow over riblets, streamwise- aligned grooves that are designed to reduce drag by modifying the near-wall flow. Twenty riblet geometries and sizes are considered, namely symmetric triangular with tip angle, and, asymmetric triangular, blade and trapezoidal. To save on computational cost, simulations are performed using the minimal-channel flow configuration. With this unprecedented breadth of high-fidelity flow data near the wall, we are able to obtain more general insights into the flow physics of riblets. As observed by García-Mayoral & Jiménez (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 678, 2011, pp. 317-347), we confirm that the drag-change curves of all the present groove geometries better collapse when reported with the viscous-scaled square root of the groove area, rather than the riblet spacing. Using a two-dimensional generalization of the Fukagata-Iwamoto-Kasagi identity in difference form we isolate the different drag-change contributions. We show that the drag increase associated with dispersive stresses carried by secondary flows can be as important as the one associated with the turbulent stresses and the pre-eminence of dispersive stresses can be estimated by the groove width at the riblet mean height.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA55
Number of pages36
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • drag reduction
  • turbulence control
  • turbulent boundary layers


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