Transition due to isolated roughness in a swept wing boundary layer

Giulia Zoppini*, Daniele Ragni, Marios Kotsonis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


The present work is dedicated to the investigation of the effect of an isolated roughness element on a swept wing boundary layer. In particular, the flow modifications incurred by a single cylindrical element applied on a swept wing model are measured, toward describing the nature of the perturbations introduced in the flow field, their development in the near and far wake region, as well as their eventual breakdown. The measurements are performed using infrared thermography, to achieve a general overview of the element wake origin and spatial spreading. Local quantitative characterization of the stationary and unsteady disturbances evolving in the flow is instead acquired through hot wire anemometry. When present in an undisturbed laminar boundary layer, isolated roughness elements are found to introduce flow disturbances, which lead to the formation of a turbulent wedge. As it develops downstream, the wedge undergoes rapid spanwise expansion, affecting the adjacent laminar flow regions. The wedge origin and development is mostly associated with the instabilities introduced by the shedding process initiated in the roughness element wake, comparably to the dominant flow features characterizing the transition of two-dimensional boundary layers conditioned by an isolated roughness element. Nonetheless, the presence of the crossflow velocity component in the boundary layer baseflow notably affects the overall flow development, introducing an asymmetric evolution of the main flow features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084113
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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