Turbulence modulation in thermally expanding and contracting flows

S. Silvestri*, R. Pecnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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We present direct numerical simulations of developing turbulent channel flows subjected to thermal expansion or contraction downstream of a heated or cooled wall. Using different constitutive relations for viscosity we analyse the response of variable property flows to streamwise acceleration/deceleration by separating the effect of streamwise acceleration/deceleration from the effect of wall-normal property variations. We demonstrate that, beyond a certain streamwise location, the flow can be considered in a state of 'quasi-equilibrium' regarding semilocally scaled variables. As such, we claim that the development of turbulent quantities due to streamwise acceleration/deceleration is localized to the region of impulsive heating/cooling, while changes in turbulence occurring farther downstream can be attributed solely to property variations. This finding allows us to study turbulence modulation in accelerating/decelerating flows using the semilocal scaling framework. By investigating the energy redistribution among the turbulent velocity fluctuations, we conclude that a change in bulk streamwise velocity has a non-local effect which originates from the change in mean shear and modifies the energy pathways through velocity-pressure-gradient correlations. On the other hand, the wall-normal property gradients have a local effect and act through the modification of the viscous dissipation. We show that it is possible to superimpose and compare the two different effects when using the semilocal scaling framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA30
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • shear layer turbulence
  • turbulent convection
  • turbulent mixing


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