Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Controlling the onset of turbulence by streamwise travelling waves. Part 1. Receptivity analysis


a1 Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA


We examine the efficacy of streamwise travelling waves generated by a zero-net-mass-flux surface blowing and suction for controlling the onset of turbulence in a channel flow. For small-amplitude actuation, we utilize a weakly nonlinear analysis to determine base-flow modifications and assess the resulting net power balance. Receptivity analysis of the velocity fluctuations around this base flow is then employed to design the travelling waves. Our simulation-free approach reveals that, relative to the flow with no control, the downstream travelling waves with properly designed speed and frequency can significantly reduce receptivity, which makes them well suited for controlling the onset of turbulence. In contrast, the velocity fluctuations around the upstream travelling waves exhibit larger receptivity to disturbances. Our theoretical predictions, obtained by perturbation analysis (in the wave amplitude) of the linearized Navier–Stokes equations with spatially periodic coefficients, are verified using full-scale simulations of the nonlinear flow dynamics in the companion paper (Lieu et al., J. Fluid Mech., 2010, doi:10.1017/S002211201000340X).

(Received October 29 2009)

(Revised June 22 2010)

(Accepted June 23 2010)

(Online publication September 08 2010)

Key words:

  • boundary-layer receptivity;
  • flow control;
  • transition to turbulence


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