Spanwise flow development within a laminar separation bubble under natural and forced transition

T. Michelis*, Marios Kotsonis, Serhiy Yarusevych

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The variation of streamwise and spanwise characteristic wavelengths of a NACA 0018 laminar separation bubble under natural and periodic excitation conditions is investigated experimentally. Periodic forcing is applied with an AC-DBD plasma actuator, and the response of the bubble is characterised in two orthogonal planes by means of time-resolved particle image velocimetry. Periodic excitation results in substantial time-averaged size reduction of the bubble. Linear stability analysis is used to establish that the most notable flow deformation is achieved when excitation is applied at the most unstable frequency, which does not significantly vary (<4%) for the range of excitation parameters investigated. At excitation frequencies well below the unstable frequency band, the shear layer does not lock to the excitation and is, instead, modulated. Lock-in is achieved at higher forcing frequencies, which are within the unstable band. For the case of modulated shedding, spanwise deformations become more significant than in the natural case; whereas when shedding becomes locked to the excitation frequency, the coherence of the rollers along the span increases. Characteristic streamwise and spanwise wavelengths are statistically quantified by means of spatial wavelet analysis, demonstrating that spanwise deformations attain wider range of wavelengths than the respective streamwise rollers. Analysis of these results suggests that spanwise deformation is associated to both the incoming boundary layer and shear layer stability characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-179
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Laminar separation bubble
  • Linear stability theory
  • PIV
  • POD


Dive into the research topics of 'Spanwise flow development within a laminar separation bubble under natural and forced transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this