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REVIEW—Unsteady Boundary Layers,

Separated and Attached

Unsteady boundary layers are investigated very actively today as a part of the effort to
Department of Engineering
Science & Mechanics, fully understand and calculate unsteady flows and their applications. As a result a
Virginia Polytechnic Institute number of review articles have appeared recently. The present review is a supplement
and State University, to earlier contributions. Emphasis is given here to areas in which considerable progress
Blacksburg, Va. 24061
has been achieved recently. However, in most of the interesting areas today, as for ex-
ample in experimental investigation of unsteady turbulent boundary layers, modeling
of unsteady separation and separated flows, no particular program has been completed.
This review article, therefore, is a kind of a unified progress report which will hopefully
capture the spirit of the work in progress in different countries of the western world and
will identify potential difficulties and future needs.

Introduction exclude unsteady effects t h a t may be generated hydrodynami-

cally, as for example windloads on bluff bodies that, for a certain
Potential flow theory has been an invaluable tool for the de-
range of Reynolds numbers, experience side forces alternating in
signer in a variety of engineering applications of aerodynamics.
sign. We will not deal with the very important area of coupling
I t is well known, however, that this has been possible only via
between the aerodynamic and elastic forces. Moreover, we con-
appropriate heuristic assumptions, as for example the K u t t a -
fine attention to external flows with the exception of special
Joukowski condition, which replace the catalytic role played by
cases where work has been very successful and the results appear
viscosity. Alternatively, potential theory may be supplemented
to have global significance.
with a boundary-layer calculation. Today it is widely accepted
Some very interesting earlier papers were brought to the at-
t h a t viscous effects, although very often confined in small areas,
tention of this author after the publication of reference [1].
control and regulate basic features of the flow field, as for ex-
Excellent review articles are available containing more in-
ample, circulation. As a result, aerodynamic characteristics of
formation on the topic [2-8]. In the present article it is not at-
significant engineering importance, like lift and drag, depend on
tempted to give a complete account of contributions in the area.
the development of a viscous layer and its downstream fate,
A picture of today's state of the art is developed by listing and
which may or may not involve transition to turbulence and
commenting upon the most recent successful efforts and identi-
separation to a wake.
fying the needs for further research.
In unsteady aerodynamics, viscosity has again reserved for us
In the past two years, little has been done in the area of tran-
some surprises. I t is the agent responsible for phenomena t h a t
sient viscous flows so a section on this topic is not included here.
cannot be predicted or explained with potential theory and quasi-
In the second section of this paper we examine oscillating flows
steady viscous models. Some typical examples: dynamic stall
but we concentrate more on oscillations with a nonvanishing
of lifting surfaces, stall flutter of helicopter rotor blades and
mean. More emphasis is now given to compressible flows and
rotating stall in engine compressor blades. Most such phenomena
unsteady heat transfer. In the third section we discuss the prob-
can be attributed to the nonlinear character of the viscous layers
lem of modeling fluctuating turbulent flows, a problem which has
that generate space and time phase differences, non-linear
been attacked vigorously in the last few years. Finally, we con-
secondary streaming, separation delay and viscous damping.
sider the problem of unsteady separation and unsteady separated
Up to the present, efforts have been confined mostly to first flows. The topics of the last two sections finally have stimulated
order theories and very few attempts have been made to assess the interest of experimentalists and we can report today on d a t a
the importance of the interaction between the unsteady viscous t h a t have become recently available.
and inviscid fields. The problem becomes even more difficult if
the elastic properties of the aerodynamic surfaces and their
coupling with the aerodynamics is brought into play. In this
Laminar Fluctuating Boundary Layers
paper we will be exclusively concerned with the response of the I t is believed that the problem of finding the response of a two-
viscous part of the flow to fluctuations imposed externally. We dimensional laminar boundary layer to fluctuations of the outer
stream is solved. A variety of analytical methods has been used
to attack this problem: a) Asymptotic expansions in powers of a
Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division and presented at AGARD small amplitude (Lighthill [9]); b) Averaging methods similar to
Symposium on "Unsteady Aerodynamics" in September 1977. Manuscript re-
ceived by the Fluids Engineering Division December 1, 1977. the classical treatment of turbulent boundary layers (Lin [10]);

Journal of Fluids Engineering MARCH 1979, Vol. 101 / 29

Copyright © 1979 by ASME

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c) Expansions in powers of a frequency parameter (Moore [11]);
d) Numerical methods solving exactly the problem in a three- I 0
i I A
dimensional coordinate space [1, 7]. A great number of publicl1- 40· - I 0
tions that follow the above guidelines have appeared in this area I
(see recent reviews in references [1, 5-7]). I
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of these methods I
are enumerated below. In the first category, following Lighthill 30'
[9], the assumption of a small amplitude automatically restricts
the method to flows with external disturbances smaller than 10
percent of the mean flow. To improve the accuracy one would
have to proceed to terms of order ~2 where ~ is the amplitude ratio.
Surprisingly enough, none of the investig;ators listed in reference 150'

[1] has attempted this type of an expansion. Instead, the problem
was further simplified by expanding in powers of a frequency 10' 100'
... -t:l
parameter or its inverse. Such methods are thus limited to ex-
treme values of frequency. The technique of expanding in powers
of ~ is quite versatile and its capabilities and possible extensions
will be commented upon later in this section.
~/______-L ______-L ______~ __~

1.0 2,0 3,0

The second and third methods, following Lin [10] and Moore wx
[11], respectively, have not been pursued adequately. They are Uoo
both limited to large or small values of the frequency parameter Fig. 1 The skin friction phase angle as a function of the frequency
onlv. The fourth method, that is numerical calculations in the +
parameter. A. Oscillating outer flow, Uo U. cos (wt}.. ----, Lighthlll coordinate space (;r, lj, and t), is perhaps the [91;-, Telionis and Romaniuk [171;0, McCroskey and Phillippe [74]:
0, Cebeci [16]: CD, Ackerberg and Philips [341. B. traveling wave,
most unambiguous and accmate method but suffers from the Uo + U. cos (wt - kx), Patel [131: 0, experiments; - - , ----, high and
need of large computer storage and time. The literature in this low approximations.
area has been adequately surveyed very recently[l, 6-8] and it
was decided here not to reference earlier publications again.
It is the opinion of the present author, that most of the engineer- expect a contribution approximately equal to 10 percent of the
ing problems of today can be treated effectively with ,an expan- mean flow. Such deviations from the quasi-steady solution shollid
sion method of the type described under the first category. Com- be experimentally detectable. The only available numerical cal-
pared to the exact numerical solutions that require storage of culations [15] indicate that the actual values of the streaming
information in a two-dimensional space, this method requires terms, i.e., the nonflnctuating coefficients of the term that mul-
information stored in two or three columns only. Moreover, it tiplies ~2 in the series expansion, are indeed rather small. If this
provides physical insight that will guide the investigator to avoid is true, then the problem would be simplified considerably, exeept
basic conceptual errors. perhaps in the neighborhood of separation.
Very few investigators attempted experiments in this area but In the same paper Patel describes an extension of Lighthill's
the work of Hill and Stenning [12] is quite extensive and perhaps method which appears to give results comparing favorably with
adequate. The problem is straightforward and its physics is well the experimental data for extreme values of the frequency pa-
understood. In fact, all of the basic trends like velocity over- ramater. Patel's experimental velocity profiles indicate over-
shoots, phase advances or delays, etc., are quite accurately pre- shoots of the order of magnitude of 50 percent or even 60 percent
dicted by almost all of the analytical methods. Therefore, today and undershoots, or in his terminology, "dips" of the profiles of
the problem of two-dimensional incompressible oscillations im- the order of 10 or 20 percent. He also demonstrates some peculiar
imposed on laminar boundary layers does not pose any concep- features of the flow in the neighborhood of wx/Vo ~ 1. This
tual, physical or methodological difficulties and is considered a behavior is illustrated in Fig. 1 where wall phase lag of velocity
test case for investigators who intend to attack more complex fluctuations, cf>T' for traveling wave and pure time dependent
situations. In the following section, most recent contributions oscillations as functions of the frequency parameter are shown.
will be referenced, some minor physical peculiarities disclosed The quantity cf>T is the phase difference between the periodie
recently will be described, and some comments on the validity fluctuations of the wall shear and the outer flow.
of the available mathematical models will be made. In reference [1] the present author included an alert with re-
gard to the validity of the mathematical models commonly U/-;ed.
Oscillations of Incompressible Flows. Patel [13] recently con- The differential equations that govern the steady streaming
sidered the problem of laminar fluctuations generated by a sys- terms were explicitly displayed but no solutions were available.
tem of vortices that are being convected downstream with a Numerical solutions of the streaming equations appeared recently
speed Q = 0.77Vo, where Vo is the velocity of the outer mean flow. [15-17]. Some basic equations are repeated here from reference
This corresponds to an outer flow velocity distribution of the [15] in order to clarify some aspects of the problem.
form For an outer flow velocity distribution given by
with Vo = constant, V 1 a linear function of x, and Q the velocity
of the traveling wave. Patel's experimental investigation provides
where V (s are real functions, w is the frequency of the oscillation,
velocity and phase shift profiles for reduced frequencies of 0.314 ~ is a small dimensionless parameter and CC stands for the com-
up to 1.57. He finds that the mean flow is unaffected by the outer plex conjugate of the preceding quantity, the properties of the
flow fluctuations. This result is expected since his e = V 1/Vo is
shear layer are assumed in the form
less than 10 percent. It appears, however, that other experimen-
talists (Hill and Stenning [12], Karlsson [14],the latter for turbu-
lent flows) reported the same finding for a stationary wave and for
amplitudes of oscillations up to 30 percent of the outer mean flow.
According to the asymptotic theory [1], the correction to the mean (3)
flow will appear in the terms of order e2• For E = 0.3 we should

30/ Vol. 101, MARCH 1979 Transactions of the ASME

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layer form of equations (4-6). For a specific situation this condi-
1 1 1 tion provides a lower bound for co. The boundary layer approxi-
mation is applicable provided t h a t the external disturbance ampli-
tude, Ui{x), is a smooth function of x. However if Ui{x) has large
derivatives or if it is periodic, with a wavelength comparable to the
thickness of the boundary layer [5], then we should expect t h a t
dui/dx and d2ui/dx2 and hence dpi/dy are not negligible com-
pared to the other terms of the equation and the problem must
f- S = .009
be treated as an elliptic one.
6 -
Collecting the nonfluetuating terms of order e2, t h a t is, the
r- S = .045
steady-streaming terms, we arrive again at a set of elliptic linear
- S = .081 differential equations of a form similar to equations (4-6).
Stuart [5] has indicated t h a t for no mean flow, u« = Va = 0, the
streaming terms do not attain the free stream value a t the edge
4 - of the Stokes layer. Following Stuart's line of thought [17] we
can arrive at the conclusion t h a t the ratio of the streaming layer
thickness to the fluctuating layer thickness is 5,/5i — uL/Uo and
therefore the streaming Reynolds number should be defined as
R, = (yco/EV) 1 ' 2 . To derive the boundary layer form of the
2 - streaming equations we need to assume t h a t R, is large. However,
a t this level of approximation we may find that terms neglected
at the zeroth order level may be comparable to the streaming
terms if the product e2R0, with R 0 the mean flow Reynolds num-
ber, is of order one. The complete form of the streaming bound-
1 ^ 1 1 ary-layer equations then is

-.04 .02 .02 04 .06 du, dv, _

dx dy
Fig. 2 Steady streaming profiles for oscillatory flow [15] with the outer
flow velocity given by Ue = 1 - s. Here s = x/L, N = y (1/ L/x)i n du, du, du0 duo
Mo T 1" "•> a N i 7 h V, r—
dx oy dx oy

In the above equation / may represent the velocity components dui , dui
u, v, the pressure p, or the temperature T, and an overbar denotes
- - ! « Mi
1- Si r—
the complex conjugate.
Substitution of such expressions in the Navier-Stokes equations dUi <Pu, J ^ dh^ ld2w.
+ +
and collection of like powers of t generates sets of differential dx dy" e2fi0 dx' +
B. dx*
equations t h a t can be solved successively. For the zeroth order
quantities, uo, v0, po, it can be easily shown that the problem re- In this equation all the symbols represent dimensionless quanti-
duces to the classical steady state boundary-layer equations ties and (R denotes the real part of the expression t h a t follows.
provided t h a t the Reynolds number R 0 = U0L/v is very large. Fig. 2 shows streaming velocity profiles for oscillatory Howarth
Here L is a typical length of the problem and v is the kinematic flow [15]. I t appears t h a t next to the wall and for adverse pressure
viscosity. The classical notation will be used throughout this gradients the secondary flow is opposing the mean flow and even-
paper for the velocity components and coordinates parallel and tually closes a loop to form an elongated vortex.
perpendicular to the wall, pressure, and temperature, namely, To account for nonlinear phenomena and the response of the
u, v, x, y, p, and T, respectively. boundary layer to large amplitude oscillations, one may have to
Collection of terms of order t then yields resort to numerical solutions of the equations in their nonper-
turbed form. Such calculations have been performed for ampli-
dui dvi _ tudes as high as 60 percent of the mean flow [18]. There are,
0 (4)
dx dy however, methods of expansion in powers of the frequency pa-
rameter alone, that permit the investigation of such nonlineari-
dui duo dui ties. This has been accomplished by Moore, [11] Williams [19] and
IWUl + Wo - ; — + Ml ~ S ~
ox ox Pedley [20], for geometries t h a t accept self-similar solutions to
the steady part of the flow. Williams presents results for three
duo _ _ 1 dpi |~ d 2 Mi d 2 Mi
+ Vi (5) different body configurations and shows that in each case, the
dy p dx I dx 2
+ unsteady effects are most prominent in t h e region of adverse
pressure gradient. Pedley was able to calculate velocity profiles
d«i dv,, dvi
t h a t for a short fraction of the period reverse and generate a thin
icovi + «o -^- + wi -— + vo —
dx ox oy layer of upstream flow. Pedley's analysis is confined to ampli-
dv0 dhh d*vi' tudes of oscillations smaller than the absolute value of the mean
(6) flow. This restriction is waived for very large amplitudes of
P dy + v
+ v. dy*
dy dx*
oscillations. In this case one may also employ the method of
averaging originally introduced by Lin [10]. The characteristic
In this form the above equations represent a linear elliptic dis-
property of such flows is that the fluctuating part of the motion is
turbance to the boundary layer equations. The thickness of the
independent of the geometrical configuration and the distribution
oscillatory layer, commonly known as a Stokes layer, is of the
of the mean velocity of the outer flow. Schneck and Walburn [21]
order of ^v/oi and for most practical applications, it is very
used an iterative method to study the streaming effects in a
small. The ratio of the Stokes layer thickness to the thickness
closed but smoothly expanding tube. They found t h a t the
of the mean boundary layer is therefore 5i/S0 = (C/O/OJL) 1 ' 2 and
secondary motion opposes the motion next to the walls and essen-
if this number is finite or small, then the boundary-layer assump-
tially increases the mass flow in the central part of the tube.
tion can be recalled in order to arrive at the familiar boundary

Journal of Fluids Engineering M A R C H 1979, V o l . 101 / 31

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The Effects of Compressibility. Unsteady compressible flows u = v = 0, T = Tw at y = 0 (13)
were not reviewed extensively earlier [1] and a more complete
account of the work in this area is given in this section. Moore while at the edge of the boundary layer the flow joins smoothly
[11] was first t o consider t h e unsteady laminar compressible within the boundary-layer approximation, with the outer flow
boundary layer over an insulated surface. He studied the case of
u -> U„ T -> T, as y -> •*> (14)
continuous time-dependent velocities of the body and presented
universal functions from which the deviations of the velocity and where the subscript e denotes properties of the outer flow.
temperature profiles from the quasi-steady state can be deter- The outer flow distributions cannot be prescribed arbitrarily
mined. Ostrach [22] and later Moore and Ostrach [23] extended as in the case of incompressible flow. The outer flow pressure,
the theory to include the effects of heat transfer but confined their velocity, density and temperature distributions must be com-
attention t o flat plate flows only. The momentum equation can patible and should satisfy the following equations
then be uncoupled from the energy equation and the fact t h a t the
outer velocity has no space gradient further simplifies the prob- dp ( dV. Tr dVe\
lem. Illingworth [24] also considered a flat plate and studied the +u (15)
effect of high wall temperatures on skin friction and heat transfer
-•£-'\-ar '-te)
due to sound waves carried by the main stream. This was the first
paper t h a t treated the case of fluctuating compressible outer flows
in the form of an acoustic wave which accounts for fluctuations
Tn-'^l + v-k) ( r « + ^ ) <*>
in the velocity and temperature but corresponds t o a vanishing and the equation of state, equation (12). For incompressible
mean pressure gradient. flow any distrubution of the outer flow velocity corresponds t o the
I t should be emphasized here that for compressible flows t h e evaluation a t y = 0, that is the inner limit, of some potential
two problems: fixed bodies in oscillating flows or oscillating flow. For compressible flow, one may choose arbitrarily the dis-
bodies in steady uniform flows, cannot be treated mathematically tribution of one of the quantities p, pe, U„ Te. The other three
through the same model. I n other words i t is not possible t o quantities should be calculated from t h e system of equations
derive one flow field from the other b y a simple transformation (12, 15 and 16). The reader should notice now in equation (16)
of the frame of reference. This is due to the fact t h a t the inertia that for unsteady compressible flow, t h e total enthalpy is not
term introduced when transforming t h e coordinate system t o constant b u t fluctuates with the time derivative of the pressure.
match one case with the other involves the term p^dUe/dt in the In Sarma's work [28] the outer flow velocity and temperature
one case and pdUe/dt in the other case, where p, Ue and t are the distributions are given an impulsive change and for t > 0 both
density, t h e edge velocity and time, respectively. T h e two effects functions are constants. As a result the right-hand side of equa-
are equivalent only if p = p„. Gribben [25, 26] considered the tion (16) is zero, the outer flow enthalpy is constant and the
flow in the neighborhood of a stagnation point, accounting for pressure does not vary with time. King [19] also considered
pressure gradient effects in a narrow sense. Gribben was mainly wedge flows, but only for the case of hypersonic flow. I n this
interested in the effects of a very hot surface and therefore as- particular case the outer flow velocity may be assumed constant
sumed constant outer flow density and temperature. Vimala and only pressure fluctuations have t o be taken into account.
and N a t h [27] presented most recently a quite general numerical King's work nevertheless is quite interesting as it presents a
method for solving the problem of compressible stagnation flow. perturbation method independent of the small amplitude assump-
Flows with nonvanishing mean pressure gradients, e.g., flows tion. Telionis and Gupta [29] have studied the fluctuating com-
about wedges, were considered first by Sarma [28]. Sarma em- pressible flow over a wedge or a cone. This is perhaps the first
ployed double expansions in powers of t h e distance along the attempt t o study a flow with nonzero pressure gradients and
wall and time. However, he studied only impulsive changes of purely unsteady outer flow conditions. For this flow enthalpy
the outer flow. This introduces a considerable simplification, ceases to be constant and varies proportionally t o t h e time
since fluctuations in velocity and pressure are missing from the derivative of the pressure. However, in this work [29] the en-
outer flow which is thus rendered isenthalpio. To clarify this thalpy variations are of one order of magnitude higher than the
point, let us consider the governing equations for two-dimensional level of the terms retained. Moreover, the simplifying assump-
or axisymmetric laminar compressible boundary-layer flow: tions are quite restrictive since the solution is valid for a conduct-
ing wall with a temperature equal to the adiabatic temperature.
dp 1 d d In a later publication [30], the same authors consider a more
at r> ox ay general class of problems by assuming arbitrary wall tempera-
tures and velocity distributions that correspond to wedges and

( du du du\ dp d / du \ cones. The physical picture appears t o be very interesting. A

wedge that fluctuates in orientation forces t h e attached shock
wave to continuously change its slope with the same period. This
dt dx dy I dx dy \ dy J message travels with the speed of sound along the shock and, as
fdT dT dT\' (dp dp \ a result, the shock wave is not straight b u t wavy. T h eflowbe-
PC + U + V
» {d7 dx d-y)-{oJ+UTX) hind the shock is not isentropic but homoentropic. Closer t o the
CP d ( dT\ ( du V skin of the wedge the velocity varies with time and the enthalpy
+ again fluctuates. This time however the fluctuation occurs along
= p 7 ^ ( ^ ) ["dy ) <"> a streamline as well since the pressure varies with temperature
as equation (16) indicates.
In the above equations Cp, p., and P r are the specific heat for
constant pressure, the viscosity and the Prandtl number, respec-
The Effects of Heat Transfer and Three-Dimensionality. Heat
tively. The quantity r = r{x) defines the body of revolution for
transfer effects were considered quite early and in fact some of the
axisymmetric flow and j takes the values 0 and 1 for two-dimen-
earlier contributions have slipped the attention of the present
sional and axisymmetric flow, respectively. The above system
author [1], Sparrow and Gregg [31] studied the compressible flow
can be closed if we specify the equation of state: assuming, for
over a flat plate and proposed series expansions similar t o those
example, the gas to be perfect:
of Moore [11]. I n references [11 and 23] the deviations from the
V = pRT (12) quasi-steady flow due to slow variations of the outer flow velocity
were investigated while in reference [22] a steady flow was as-
The boundary conditions require for a fixed wall with no suction sumed and the effect of slow variations of wall temperatures was

32 / Vol. 1 0 1 , M A R C H 1979 Transactions of the ASME

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investigated. More recently Watkins [32] looked into the classical need to have an engineering solution to the problem prompted
problem of impulsive motion over a flat plate and extended the various investigators [39-43] to propose approximate solutions.
theory to include impulsive temperature changes. Similar experi- I t appears t h a t a small frequency assumption is acceptable for
mental and theoretical studies, again for the flat plate and in- this problem and in all the above references only the first approxi-
cluding the effects of conduction and radiation, were reported mation is derived corresponding to large distances from the center
by Karvinen [33]. However this study is confined to transient of rotation. McCroskey and Yaggy [41] indicate that in this case,
flows. Heat transfer rates were also calculated in the special case the spanwise flow is independent of the crosswise flow and proceed
considered in reference [27] as a deviation from the adiabatic to investigate the effects on separation. A transformation to
flow and then again in reference [28] for a more general situation treat the same problem and, in particular, separation was pro-
when the temperature of the wall is prescribed. posed by Young and Williams [43]. More recently [44], an effort
The present author and one of his associates [17] reconsidered has been made to capture the oscillating components of the span-
laminar incompressible flows and, via asymptotic expansions of wise flow and the cross-flow. This could be considered as the
the form presented in this section, investigated the effects of high first order unsteady correction to earlier studies. However the
and low wall temperatures and, for the first time, dissipation, on work in reference [44] is confined to the flow over a yawed b u t
heat transfer rates. I t is interesting to note here t h a t a typical infinite cylinder of arbitrary cross-section. Some of the results
nonlinear streaming phenomenon appears again. The differential are quite interesting. With oscillations of the outer flow only in
equation for the temperature is linear but the nonlinear terms of the spanwise direction, it appears that the coupling of the differ-
the velocity field feed energy into the temperature field and thus ential equations allows the disturbances to be transferred to the
generate a steady component of temperature in excess of the cross flow. As a result, cross flow fluctuating profiles are gen-
average quasi-steady temperature profile. More specifically, erated. No attempt has been made to attack the problem for
assuming t h a t the temperature is expanded according to equation more general situations.
(3), the streaming component of energy satisfies the equation I t is the opinion of the present author that numerical solutions
in the space of 4 independent variables (x, y, z, I) should be ex-
or, , dT, , ar„ ar„ cluded, at least for the time being. An application of perturbation
Mo -r— + l>o -IT- + u," dx h ». ^ ^
methods will be necessary and we feel t h a t the most appropriate
dx dy ox ay
1 d*7\ would be an extension of the one proposed for two-dimensional
i m\ (17) flow by Lighthill [9]. The oscillatory part of t h e flow then,
2 +
Pr e2R„ dx2 following the notation of this section, would be goverened by the
dhla equations
4. 2Ec — — + — —
dy dy e2R0 dx1*
dui drh 3wi _
where Pr and Ec are the Prandtl and Eckert numbers, respec- (18)
dx dy dz
tively. The streaming terms, u, and v,, influence the convective
and dissipative part of the process. Prom the physical point of dui duo dui dun
•mui + Mo + ui ~— + v0 f- D I T -
view the phenomenon is perhaps of considerable importance. I t dx dx dy dy
appears t h a t imposed velocity fluctuations may result in in-
creased rates of heat transfer as compared to quasi-steady values. du duo 1 dpi d2u
+ w0 + «>i + v dy" (19)
Unfortunately, the analysis in reference [17] is confined to small dz p dx
amplitudes of oscillation and, as a result, the domain of large
dwi 3t0o Sioi fltfo
deviations from the mean cannot be investigated. However, the
WWi + Mo ^— + »l T + »1 a 1" Vi -—
phenomenon may have interesting engineering applications since dx ox dy dy
larger amplitudes of oscillation may result in substantial changes dwi 1 dpi dhih
3w0 (20)
of the mean heat transfer. Wo + w, + V
The numerical analysis of the problem [17] indicates t h a t tem-
d~z~ d7 p dz dy*
perature profiles do not have monotonic derivatives, much like Integration of the system of steady state equations t h a t govern
the curves shown in Fig. 1. Such "wiggly" variations may have the quantities u0, v„, and w0 and equations (19, 20) can proceed
been inherited from the velocity field and appear even for large numerically in the three-dimensional space x, y, z for a general
values of the frequency parameter. In fact, the asymptotic body configuration and for a specific value of the frequency co.
values are approached in a damped oscillatory fashion, as ob- In this way no restriction will be imposed on the geometry of the
served earlier for the velocity field by Ackerberg and Phillips [34]. aerodynamic surface or the value of the frequency of the oscil-
This behavior was attributed to the neglect of initial conditions lation. The only requirement is that the amplitude of the oscil-
upstream at x = 0, which are transmitted downstream by ex- lation is small.
ponentially small oscillatory eigenfunctions. Ackerberg and Finally, we should emphasize here that one area of laminar
Phillips have verified this by numerical experiments and by fluctuations remains almost untouched. I t is the problem of
fitting numerical results to some eigenfunctions determined by strong interaction with the outer inviscid flow. The author is
Lam and R o t t [35]. However, there is some controversy with aware t h a t an effort in this direction is under way [45]. Moreover
regard to the correctness of the eigenfunctions determined by a modest attempt to initiate the work in this area has already
Lam and R o t t because the eigenfunctions of higher order appear appeared in print. Afzal and Rizvi [46] studied the higher order
to grow faster than the eigenfunctions of lower order. Brown and boundary layer effects for a transient flow in the neighborhood
Stewartson [36, 37] have proposed a different set of eigenfunctions of a stagnation point. The boundary layer equations may be con-
based on the physical argument that the outer Blasius flow con- fining for the investigation of such problems. Indeed, many
trols the motion, rather than the inner Stokes flow, and t h a t authors have employed more general models including of course,
signals from the leading edge propagate downstream with finite the use of the full Navier-Stokes equations. A review of such
velocity. For more details the reader may look into the papers efforts can be found in reference [47].
referenced as well as the review article of Riley [6].
Although the problem of laminar two-dimensional oscillations Turbulent Fluctuating Boundary Layers
has received extensive attention in the last 25 years and may be
considered solved, very little has been done to extend these Interest in this area has been suddenly revived in the early
theories to three-dimensional flows. A typical example where seventies. As a result, the experimentalists were caught unpre-
such flows are encountered is the helicopter blade. The urgent pared, while many theoreticians have rushed to propose a variety

Journal of Fluids Engineering MARCH 1979, Vol. 101 / 33

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of solutions, extending the well established steady flow models
to unsteady flows [1]. Some investigators compared their
theoretical predictions to the only experimental data available
at the time, those of Karlsson [14]. The agreement in most cases
is not very satisfactory. The profile of the mean flow1 is usually
predicted with reasonable accuracy. However, theoretical in-
phase and out-of-phase velocity profiles and phase advances
appear to deviate very much from the experimental data. Even
more disheartening is the fact t h a t unacceptable disagreement
exists between the results of various theoretical methods. The
necessity for more experimental information has become more
and more apparent. In the last year or two, some experimental
studies have started appearing. Therefore, it is appropriate to
start this section with a description of the most recent experi-
mental results.
Fig. 3 Schematic representation of the triple decomposition (from
Recent Experimental Information. If a fluctuation of a specified reference [48])
frequency is imposed on a turbulent boundary layer, it is neces-
sary to devise a method of identifying separately the organized
response to the external oscillation and the random fluctuation of
du dv
the turbulent field. A method to identify experimentally these (27)
quantities, albeit for different physical situations, is described by dx dy
Hussain and Reynolds [48], Houdeville, et al. [49], Schachenman,
du du, du du 3fi
et al. [50] and Soutif, et al. [51]. A triple decomposition is neces-
sary. A field quantity / is decomposed as follows at ox. ox ay oy

1 dp d2u , d _
/ = / + / + /' (21)
- * + " T7 + T («» - » ) (28)
In this expression / is the time average of the quantity and, ac- p ox ay1 oy
cording to our terminology, the mean. The quantity / is derived
- -r- ( < « ' !>' > - « V )
by an ensemble averaging process which is based on a conditional
sampling technique. Hussain and Reynolds [48] call it "periodic
sampling" or "phase averaging." I t is the ensemble average of
instantaneous values selected at a specifip phase of the outer
flow oscillation. Reynolds stress terms appear in these equations both from the
random and the organized fluctuations and we have assumed
N here that, within the boundary layer approximation, normal
<f(t)> = l i m - £ fit + nT) (22) Reynolds stresses are negligible.
n-o Acharya and Reynolds [54] provide extensive experimental data
t h a t include mean profiles, averaged profiles, normal and shear
where T is the period of the imposed oscillation. The quantity /, Reynolds stresses, correlations etc. However, they investigate
which represents the organized fluctuations, is then defined ac- internal fully developed turbulent flows which are beyond the
cording to the formula scope of the present review. Their results could provide an ex-
cellent test case for approximate theoretical models of unsteady
/ = < / > - / (23)
turbulent boundary layers.
while the random fluctuations are Some very interesting features of oscillating turbulent bound-
ary layers were disclosed by the experimental efforts of a group
/' = / - </> (24) of investigators from Toulouse [49, 55]. All of these experiments
Similar decompositions have been used by Townsend [52] and are characterized by amplitudes of oscillation of the order 30 to
Phillips [53]. The above definitions are depicted schematically 40 percent of the mean outer flow. As a result, nonlinear effects
in Fig. 3. Hussain and Reynolds provide a detailed discussion become obvious. Perhaps their most exciting discovery, is that
on this decomposition as well as the differential equations t h a t the turbulence level at a fixed point in space fluctuates with the
govern the field of the mean and the fluctuating quantities. A same frequency as the outer flow. T h a t is, the random disturb-
boundary layer form of their equations in the classical notation ances tend to follow the periodic variation of the outer flow
should be: fluctuations. Fig. 4 is taken from reference [49] and corresponds
for the mean flow: to a reduced frequency of oscillation 0181/U0 = 3.7 X 10~3 where
5i and t/o are the displacement thickness and outer flow velocity,
du du respectively. I t shows the reduced turbulence level variation,
dx dy (<u'2>/ <u'2>)112, and the reduced averaged flow <u>/u.
We observe t h a t the turbulence level follows with some delay the
du du 1 dp 32w fluctuations of the ensemble averaged motion but, as one proceeds
u ——f- v — = — — • (- v away from the wall and approaches the edge of the boundary
dx dy p dx dy2
layer, larger phase shifts and a periodic intermittency phenome-
d — non appears. More surprising, near the edge of the boundary
— (uv) (26)
dy layer, at a certain instant and while the averaged velocity and
and for the oscillating flow: boundary layer thicknesses are at a maximum and minimum
respectively, the turbulence level increases violently. In other
words, when the boundary layer goes through its smallest thick-
' I t is proposed to avoid confusion hero by the following convention for the ness, the turbulence suddenly bursts out into the free flow. In-
terminology. Let the term "average" be used whenever a statistical ensemble specting the ensemble averaged profiles which are given only for
average is involved. Let the term "mean" be reserved only for the overall
mean of the deterministically oscillating and randomly fluctuating motion. four points of the period - not shown here - we also observe a

34 / Vol. 101, M A R C H 1979 Transactions of the ASME

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y=0.1mm .1 -

08 -

06 S^U -
T D ^

04 ^ x

I i i 1 1

Fig. 5 The level of turbulence profiles: , four characteristic in-

y = tO stances of a period wf=0, -r/Z and 3ir/2 (curves 1, 6,12, and 18, respec-
tively, as shown in Fig. 3), ——, reference [55]; , averaged through
a period and steady flow, reference [56]! —• , steady flow
reference [57]

The velocity fluctuations follow the fluctuations of the outer flow.

Unfortunately, the statistical information is not extensive. The
root mean square of the total velocity is given and it is shown to
increase with downstream distance. However if this quantity
contains the RMS of the organized fluctuations, then the turbu-
lence level is buried in this quantity and very little can be de-
o ' _ * . t/T < duced about the statistics of the unsteady turbulent boundary
Fig. 4 The time history of the level of turbulence, (IT 5 ) 1 ' 2 , at different layer.
distances from the wall <from reference [49])
Charnay and Mathieu [59] also investigated fluctuating turbu-
lent flows but measured only the effects of mean flow fluctuations
clear asymmetry of the periodic variation, that is, a deviation on the free turbulence in a wind tunnel. The response of a turbu-
from the sinusoidal behavior. lent boundary layer on an air foil to fluctuations of the outer
In a later publication [55] and for a higher frequency param- stream was investigated by Satyanarayana [60]. A wind tunnel
eter uSi/Uo = 12.7 X 10~s, the same authors give instantaneous with flexible walls was used to provide a stream that fluctuates in
profiles for the quantities (M12)1'2 and (MV). In Fig. 5 we have magnitude or in direction. In reference [60] averaged velocity
carried over the experimental data from reference [55] as well as profiles are given but little information on the statistical proper-
from Patel [56] who undertook a similar investigation. However, ties of turbulence is supplied.
Patel used a time constant larger than the period of oscillation Some very interesting problems that probably belong to the
and essentially obtained the average of the instantaneous turbu- same family, although not strictly dealing with external turbu-
lence level profiles given by Cousteix, et al. [55]. It should be lent boundary layers, were considered recently. Soutif, Favre,
made very clear here that the data of Fig. 5 correspond to different Marinet and Binder [51] investigated the response of a
frequencies and amplitude parameters. Therefore, comparison turbulent jet to fluidic lip disturbances that generate sym-
of different experimental results can be accomplished only at the metric or antisymmetric periodic fluctuations. The authors pre-
qualitative level. The profiles shown in Fig. 5 seem to indicate sented instantaneous profiles and the downstream evolution of
that the turbulent energy is convected in an oscillatory manner periodic and turbulent intensities. Most important of all, they
and in a direction perpendicular to the wall with the frequency indicated that the externally imposed fluctuation may transfer
of the outer flow. However, it appears that the flux of (M 71 ) 1 ' 2 energy to the turbulent motion. Indeed 20 jet thicknesses down-
shown in this figure may be conserved across the boundary layer. stream of the disturbance, the periodic fluctuations die out but the
Fluctuating turbulent boundary layers with an adverse pres- intensity of turbulence grows to a value 70 percent larger than the
sure gradient were investigated experimentally by Schachenmann corresponding undisturbed jet intensity. Thomas and Shukla [61]
and Rockwell [50] in a conical diffuser. In this study the fre- have looked into the wall region of fully developed fluctuating
quency parameter was varied between 0.63 and 7.33 but the turbulent pipe flow. They report on the interaction between the
amplitude of the oscillations was only e = u/u = 0.069. How- bursting effect and the imposed fluctuations and compare their
ever, the pressure gradient effect appears to have a strong in- experimental results with the theoretical model based on the
fluence on the fluctuating part of the motion. First, the overshoot concept of surface renewal. The work of Binder and Didelle
of the fluctuating component u increases with downstream dis- [62], Mainardi and Pandai [63] and Mainardi, et al. [64] also may
tance. Overshoot values reach magnitudes 60 percent higher be found useful to investigators of unsteady turbulent boundary
than the value of the outer stream. The same effects were en- layers.
countered in a numerical study for laminar oscillations by Telionis Recapitulating, we may say that a clear picture has started to
and Tsahalis [58]. Second, the profile of the fluctuating velocity emerge from the available experimental data. There are, of
component for large frequencies of oscillation indicates two course, many parameters involved and a lot more work is neces-
peaks, and away from the wall it undershoots the value of the sary to provide a complete description of the phenomenon. The
outer flow. Such a behavior was also encountered by Telionis frequency parameter is not easy to vary in all the experimental
and Romaniuk [17] and was found to carry over to temperature lay-outs. However a relatively wide range has been explored by
profiles as well. Third, for distances further downstream, the different investigators. The amplitude parameter is fixed or very
phase angle shows some negative values and eventually it be- difficult to adjust for some of the experimental set-ups. Very
comes negative across the entire thickness of the boundary layer. little information is available for flows with pressure gradients

Journal of Fluids Engineering MARCH 1979, Vol. 101 / 35

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which have been proved to have a strong influence on the fluctuat-
ing part of the motion. One of the most surprising conclusions
t h a t has emerged from many experimental studies [14, 49, 65] is
that the mean profile is very little affected even for large ampli-
tudes of oscillation.
Comparing the results of different experiments is very difficult,
because the parameter iox/U0 is no longer a similarity variable
as is the case in laminar flows. In the laminar flow equations the
independent variables x and t appear always in the combination
d/dt + ud/dx. However, in the turbulent flow equations, x is
introduced also in the Reynolds stress. The parameters co5/f70
or uid/Ua have been suggested for comparison but these too
cannot be used for a global presentation of the experimental data.
I t appears t h a t the only method of comparing experimental data
could be through analytical extrapolations based on a suc- Fig. 6 The skin friction phase angle for turbulent oscillations as a
function of the frequency parameter ux/Ua>. Theoretical results:
cessful theoretical method. , Kuhn and Nielsen [72]; , Cebeci [16]; , McCroskey
and Phillipe [74]; , Nash, Carr and Singleton [73]; — ,
Modeling of the Unsteady Turbulent Boundary Layer. Most of Telionis and Tsahalis [71].
the existing models for closing the system of equations (25), (26)
have been extended to unsteady flows as reviewed in reference [1].
At that time, zero- and one-equation models were used to study tion models [75] may be a little more promising. In fact they
the problem. Since then, efforts have been continued to improve have been used, again with no major adjustments, to account for
the existing models. In reference [66] the Cebeci-Smith eddy unsteadiness, in references [49, 54, and 55]. Successful modeling
viscosity model is further improved. I t is pointed out in this of the turbulent boundary layer is a clear challenge to the
paper that the correction of the damping effect due to unsteadi- theoreticians. They will have to invent new models that would
ness is influenced by the velocity acceleration. To estimate cor- take into account the interaction between the organized fluctua-
rectly the shear r , at the edge of the sublayer one may ap- tions of the outer flow and the random fluctuations of turbulence.
proximate the momentum equation as The process may even involve energy transfer from the deter-
ministic to the random fluctuations, a phenomenon already ob-
du dp 6V, served experimentally[51].
dt dx dy The fallacy in using the steady flow models for unsteady tur-
The convective terms could be ignored in the immediate neighbor- bulent flows becomes obvious if one simply observes the equations
hood of the wall but the unsteady term, du/dt, may be significant, t h a t govern the mean and the organized flucutations of the
especially for large frequencies. motion, equations (25 through 28). The Reynolds stresses ap-
Patel and Nash [67-70] extended their earlier work based on a pearing in the equations for the fields u, v and u, v are funda-
one-equation model by introducing a refinement in the neighbor- mentally different. Using a steady flow model and integrating
hood of the wall to meet the inner boundary condition. This is numerically in the space x, y, t amounts to an arbitrary distribu-
essentially the law of the wall with appropriate modifications in tion of the steady Reynolds stress in the Reynolds stresses of
order to handle regions of partially reversed flow. Patel and Nash equations (26) and (28).
investigate a flow that progressively goes through a minimum of In a preliminary investigation [76] it was decided to perform
the outer flow velocity. This generates a small but growing region calculations for the simplest kind of modeling possible. To this
of recirculating flow approximately in the middle of the domain end, a classical eddy viscosity model for the mean flow Reynolds
of integration. stress was used and the nonlinear random contributions in equa-
Cebeci [16] included in his well known models the effect of low tion (26) were completely ignored. This assumption is essentially
Reynolds number which was missing from the development of equivalent to a laminar oscillatory correction on a steady turbu-
references [66 and 71] and repeated the calculations for turbulent lent boundary-layer. I t is felt that this is physically justified.
oscillatory flows over a flat plate. I t is well, known t h a t the boundary layer, laminar or turbulent,
I t has been argued t h a t for some of the above methods the responds locally in an almost inviscid manner. The hypothesis
agreement between the numerical results and the experimental here is t h a t the local organized pressure disturbance is instantly
data is imperfect but probably adequate for engineering purposes. carried through the turbulent boundary layer without interaction
I t also has been claimed t h a t the existing discrepancies probably with the random fluctuations. Or, equivalently, that the turbu-
can be attributed, at least in part, to experimental scatter. The lent eddies undergo an oscillatory deformation that does not
present author feels that in all the above models something funda- affect their entity and the process of their mutual interaction.
mental is missing, and many of the investigators clearly admit it. The effect of viscosity is confined to a thin Stokes-type layer and
The argument and the controversy is carried over from steady shrinks further with larger frequencies. In other words, the
turbulent flows, but here it is felt that our models do not seem to inviscid response, that is a velocity fluctuation with a uniform
predict even the physical tendencies correctly. The reader will profile, grows larger and approaches the wall as the frequency
be convinced if he would simply glance at Pig. 6. In this figure of the outer fluctuation increases. I t should be mentioned here
we have collected experimental and analytical information on t h a t a similar suggestion is included in reference [54] b u t it was
the variation of the skin-friction phase angle as a function of the proved t h a t this idea did not produce satisfactory results in the
frequency parameter oix/U„. Unfortunately, the definition of case of internal flows.
these quantities is not very clear in some of the references. A A classical test of a theoretical method is the calculation of the
2T is implied sometimes and the distance x is not always specified organized part of the velocity, in the terminology of Karlsson
or clearly defined. As a result, our interpretation of data may not the in-phase and out-of-phase velocity components. No pub- :
be very accurate. Moreover, the interpretation of Karlsson's lished theoretical results have predicted up to now overshoots of
experimental results is very difficult and the points shown in the the in-phase component larger than 1 or 2 percent. Yet Karls-
figure may contain a possible error of up to 10 percent. son's data and all the most recent experimental information in-
All the existing analytical models were carried over from steady dicate t h a t the overshoot may reach 10 or even 20 percent of the
flow. The only adjustments made were confined to incorporation mean flow. In Fig. 7 we plot, for a specific situation, experimental
of the term du/dt wherever it was appropriate. The two-equa- data as well as theoretical predictions. Some improvement is

36 / Vol. 101, MARCH 1979 Transactions of the ASME

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upstream from the location of separation and then disappears
within one period.
There have been some misunderstandings over the precise de-
finitions suggested in references [83 and 84] and a clarification,
although repetitious, is perhaps necessary here. Let it be clear
from the very beginning that by "separation" we me'an the loca-
tion on the solid boundary where the flow stops creeping over the
skin of the body and breaks away from the wall, thus generating
a turbulent wake. This phenomenon, eccountered mostly in ex-
ternal flows with relatively large Reynolds numbers, controls the
overall pressure distribution and quantities like lift and drag.
This was essentially the definition adopted in reference [84] where
the authors have further argued that abrupt changes of boundary
layer properties in the first order boundary layer equations may
signal the approach to the point of separation. Such properties
have been studied extensively and are referred to as the Gold-
stein singularity. Despard and Miller [83] define separation as
the furthest downstream station at which the shear fluctuates
between zero and some negative value.
y (in) The work in this area has been reviewed in references [1, 8, 78,
Fig. 7 The in-phase and out-of-phase velocity components for a and 82], all of which appeared very recently. In this section we
fluctuating turbulent boundary layer. Theoretical results: —. —. —, give a brief account of most recent contributions to the area and
Telionis [66] and Cebeci [16]; - - - , , Telionis and Romaniuk [76].
Experimental data: O, A, n , Karlsson [14] (different amplitudes); we discuss the problems of unsteady separated flows.
F Cousteix, et al. [55]
The Glorified Moving Wall Case. Moore, Rott, and Sears [84]
argued in the late fifties t h a t there is an intrinsic qualitative
obvious b u t the out-of phase comparison is still poor. I t should similarity between steady separation over fixed walls and un-
be emphasized that at the frequency w/27r = 1, the behavior of steady separation over moving walls. In fact, to investigate the
both the laminar and the turbulent boundary layers is erratic problem of unsteady separation, experiments were at first con-
[16, 48]. This is the intermediate region between high and low ducted at the Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory with steady flow
frequencies and correct modeling of the flow in this regime will over rotating cylinders [78, 84]. A few years ago, Telionis and
be very difficult. Preliminary results [48] indicate that more Werle [85] carried out numerical calculations of boundary layer
complex models give satisfactory results, at least for high and flow over a parabola at an angle of attack. Allowing the skin of
low reduced frequencies. the parabola to move downstream, they were able to demon-
strate that the point of zero skin friction is not singular and t h a t a
Goldstein-type singularity appears further downstream, at a
Unsteady Separation and Separated Flows point where the M.R.S. criterion is met; that is, du/dy = 0 at
The study of viscous phenomena and, in particular, boundary u = 0. Williams and Johnson [86, 87] introduced a transformation
layers has interested investigators for a variety of reasons. I t is that maps the steady flow over a moving wall to unsteady flow
certainly necessary to know the distribution of skin friction and over a fixed wall. They were thus able to capture at least one
heat transfer across the interface of fluids and solids. For internal special case of unsteady flow where separation and the separation
fluid mechanics, this information and the properties of viscous singularity occur at a station where the M.R.S. criterion is met
regions per se, as for example velocity profiles, flow rates and per- if the flow is viewed by an observer moving with the speed of
haps the effect of viscosity on mixing and chemical reactions, is a separation. The same problem was attacked numerically earlier
final goal in itself. However, in external fluid dynamics it is by Moore [81], through the self-similar equations of Falkner and
necessary to consider the interaction between the viscous layer Skan. This idea was further pursued by Telionis [88]. In refer-
and the outer inviscid flow. Viscous flow theories are employed in ence [88] it was demonstrated t h a t a singularity accompanies the
order to determine the location of separation—which controls profiles that satisfy the M.R.S. criterion for downstream moving
basic characteristics of lifting surfaces—and perhaps the proper- walls. However, this is not the case for upstream moving walls.
ties of small separated regions or even wakes. Boundary-layer I t soon became clear t h a t the problem of separation over up-
technology has been successful in predicting with reasonable ac- stream moving walls posed much greater difficulties than antici-
curacy the location of separation in steady fields (see review arti- pated, as Williams also notes [78].
cles by Brown and Stewartson [73] and Williams [78]). In the last At this point it is felt that a clarification is necessary. The
decade, work has been performed to demonstrate that the classical Goldstein singularity—or better, a characteristic singular be-
theories can be used to determine the properties of unsteady havior similar to the one studied by Goldstein [77] —appears in a
flow fields. A breakthrough in this effort has been the identifica- numerical calculation in the form of a sharp growth of quantities
tion of the fact that the classical criterion of separation for steady like the w-component of velocity, derivatives d/dx, etc. In all
flow, t h a t is the vanishing of skin friction, is no longer valid for the cases studied the sharp growth is proportional to the inverse
unsteady flows. This idea was presented at first in a form of a square root of a variable. This variable, in nonsimilar flow, is
conjecture [79-81]. Some numerical evidence appeared later (see the upstream distance from separation. For self-similar solutions
review article by Sears and Telionis [82].) These consist essentially the quantities mentioned above blow up with the inverse square
of numerical integrations of laminar and turbulent boundary root of the pressure gradient parameter j3. Fansler and Danberg
layers that were carried through the point of zero skin friction and [89] demonstrated t h a t a similar phenomenon occurs in an integral
into a region of partially reversed flow without any evidence of analysis of the unsteady boundary layer equations. In this case
the separation singularity. Almost at the same time, Despard the square root singularity appears if one plots the quantity H
and Miller [83] published their experimental results and argued versus K, where H is the ratio of the displacement thickness to
that separation in oscillatory flow is displaced with respect to its the momentum thickness and K is the energy thickness divided
steady state location but remains unaffected by the oscillations by the momentum thickness.
of the outer stream. The point of zero skin friction oscillates back Tsahalis [90] attempted to investigate numerically, for the
and forth, thus generating a thin layer of reversed flow that shoots first time, the phenomenon of separation over upstream moving

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walls. Considering a nonsimilar flow, one encounters a small
region of steady reversed flow. Integration in this case cannot
proceed further with a steady state scheme of calculations. To
overcome this difficulty, Tsahalis employed an unsteady method
of solution, started with a fixed wall and introduced gradually the
upstream motion of the skin. Thus, he was able to arrive at a
converged steady state solution which contains a region of par-
tially reversed flow and a station where a Goldstein singularity
appears. At this station the M.R.S. criterion is "nearly" met.
Tsahalis explains that the boundary layer equations cannot ac-
cept an M.R.S. condition for upstream moving walls and that
his analysis indicl1tes that the M.R.S. criterion should probably
be met at this station if the full Navier Stokes equations are used.
Fansler and Danberg [89] employ an integral method that makes
use of self-similar profiles to investigate nonsimilar separation
flows. They find that for upstream moving walls the M.R.S. pro-
file corresponds indeed to a station near the point but not exactly
at the point on the H-K curve where a singularity appears. How-
ever, the point on the H-K curve that corresponds to an M.R.S
profile is quite far from the singularity. Fansler and Danberg
adopt essentially the definition of reference [80] and assume that
separation occurs at the point where the H-K curve shows
singular behavior. They proceed to compare their results to ex-
perimental data with reasonable success, at least for the case of
Fig. 8 Flow Visualization of the neighborhood of separation over a
downstream moving walls. downstream moving wall (reference (93)
The present author prepared a report [91] on this topic col-
lecting information on analytical, numerical and experimental
works. In the same report an asymptotic expansion is proposed
to prove that even for the smallest speed of the skin of the body,
the points of stagnation are removed from the body. The stream-
lines then form a saddle point configuration, identical to the one
originally proposed by Moore, Rott, and Sears.,
Two experimental investigations in this area have been con-
ducted in the last few years. Huq [92] has measured unsteady
boundary-layer properties in a towing tank. Using titanium di-
oxide particles for surface observations, he also looked into the
flow around a rotating cylinder. H.owever, due to the small
thickness of the viscous region, it appeared difficult to visualize
details within the boundary layer. Huq instead directed his
attention to the problem of an impulsively started flat plate.
In another effort undertaken at VPI and SU a mixture of
glycerin and water was used to achieve thicker boundary layers
with not so small velocities. With Reynolds numbers of the order
of 100 or 200, laminar wakes permitted the capture of all four
of the critical streamlines that form a saddle point at separation.
Flow visualization was achieved again by surface pellets. Some
preliminary results were reported in reference [91]. A more de-
tailed description of this work can be found in reference [93].
The immediate neighborhood of separation over the upstream and
the downstream moving walls is given here in Figs. 8 and 9. In
these photographs the camera film was exposed for 1/4 of a
second and therefore it tracked each particle on a portion of its Fig. 9 Flow visualization of the neighborhood of separation over an
path. The cylinder has a diameter of 13 cm and it rotates with a upstream moving wall (reference (93)
surface speed equal to 30 percent of the mean flow velocity. The
area shown in the picture represents approximately 4 cm 2 in the
immediate neighborhood of the stagnation points. layers of reversed flow can be embedded at the bottom of an
attached boundary layer was supplied first by Despard and
Unsteady Separation. A lot of effort has been directed in the Miller (83) for oscillatory flows. A similar investigation was re-
last decade towards solving this difficult problem. However reported by Ruiter, et a1. [94].
many questions remain unanswered. We may be able to state In their investigation of unsteady stall Carr, McA)ister, and
with certainty that the point of zero skin friction is not related to McCroskey [95] employ a multiplicity of sensing and measuring
separation in unsteady flows. A large number of numerical cal- devices: smoke-flow visualization, surface tufts, hot wire probes
culations (see reviews in references [1, 78, 82]) have proved and surface-pressure transducers. They observe universally flow
that in unsteady flow one may proceed through the point of zero reversal on the skin of the airfoil prior to any discernible distur-
skin-friction without any evidence of singular behavior. In this bances of the outer flow or any detectable normal force or pitching
way, a thin layer of reversed flow may be captured, upstream of moment deviation. In fact, they report that in several instances,
the location of separation. At first, such arguments. did not the flow at the surface reverses over a major portion of the airfoil,
appear convincing. After all, there is no definite proof that the before variations in integral force data can be detected. For an
boundary layer equations contain information about the airfoil with typical trailing-edge stall characteristics, flow re-
extent of their own validity. Experimental verification that thin versal smoothly creeps upstream and eventually reaches the

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I, D , n , EZ Type of flow reversal by the point of separation. However no experimental infor-
mation is available for comparison. As a result there has been
some justified criticism. Riley [6] correctly notes that there is
some disagreement between the numerical results of references
[98 and 100, 101]. I t is felt, however, that the work of Proudman
and Johnson [98] and Robins and Howarth [103] is not at all in
variance with the ideas presented in reference [82], Stewartson
(private communication) expressed in the past some concern over
x/c the numerical results of reference [98] whereby a singularity
suddenly appears away from the rear stagnation point in a
0.05 cylinder started impulsively from rest. In a recent publication,
Bodonyi and Stewartson [104] examine the unsteady flow on a
_l j0bi» rotating disk in a counter-rotating fluid and discover t h a t this is
< .20
z indeed possible. They propose mutually consistent numerical
tjv* .45 and analytical solutions of an unsteady boundary-layer flow
which is initially well behaved b u t breaks down after a finite in-
QC terval of time. Finally in a most recent analytical effort, Schneck
~T • U*„ [105] employs the Despard and Miller definition to study separa-
70 tion in pulsatile internal flow. He finds that the point of separa-
O tion moves progressively downstream and towards its steady-
I ^^/'W^^ -90
state location, as the frequency of oscillation increases.
Carr, McAlister and McCroskey [95] describe in their experi-
mental study the formation of large scale vortices that grow and
Dt m create large scale disturbances of the potential flow. I t appears
TT 27T 37T
from their flow visualization t h a t such vortices receive their
CUT energy from a shear layer t h a t separates from the skin of the air-
Fig. 10 The angle of attack, coefficients of lift and moment, and the foil and rolls over to generate a growing but well organized sep-
hot wire signals as a function of time for a NACA 0012, wx/Uu = 0.15
Re = 2.5 X 10« and a = 15» +10" sin a, ((reference [95]) arated region. Similar experimental studies (with unsteady flows
over airfoils) t h a t indicate the formation of similar vortices have
been performed by Ericsson and Reding [106], Maresca, Rebont
leading-edge of the airfoil before any sign of unsteady separation and Valensi [107], Lang [108] and others.
and stall can be detected. For airfoils with leading-edge stall The author, with the support of the Army Research Office, has
characteristics, flow reversal seems to be initiated for higher undertaken an experimental study of unsteady separation and
frequencies at the leading-edge of the airfoil and for lower fre- some preliminary findings are reported here. Experiments are
quencies almost simultaneously over the entire surface of the being performed in a water tunnel with a long test section to
airfoil. For high frequencies flow reversal originates upstream achieve relatively thick boundary layers with not so small veloc-
and travels downstream as the angle of attack increases. The ities. Most favorable conditions for such studies are achieved by
situation is quite complicated for other types of airfoils t h a t using glycerin-water mixtures. A thin sheet of light illuminates
appear to have a mixed type of flow reversal characteristics a plane parallel to the mean flow direction. Through the same
(NACA 0012). optical path, a flash of light can also be directed. The flow is
Carr and his associates identify four different types of flow visualized via amberlite and pliolite particles which have densi-
reversing signals as detected by the hot wire probes. Type 1 is ties very close to the density of the water. The camera exposes
the point at which the hot wire signal indicates an abrupt break- the film for a short period of time, Jo, and the particles appear in
down. Type I I is the point at which the signal drops to a mini- the film as short segments of length, say s,-. The average speed of a
mum. Type I I I is defined on the basis of the first fluctuation particle can be thus approximated by the ratio Si/k, provided
that reaches zero and type IV is some distinct change in the that the lengths s,- are sufficiently small. The starting point of
character of the signal t h a t seems symptomatic of either flow all these segments is marked by a brighter spot which is accom-
reversal or boundary-layer separation. Fig. 10' is taken from plished by a strong flash at the beginning of the time interval Jo-
reference [95] and shows for a = 15 + 10 sin oit, uc/Uo = 0.15 i n this way the directionality of the flow can be investigated.
with c the chord length and Re = 2.5 X 10°, the angle of attack, Dyes are also used in the wake rather than in the mean flow, in
the normal and pitching moment coefficients and the hot wire contrast with the use of smoke by Carr, et al. A more detailed
signal for different spanwise locations. All four types of flow re- description of the experimental lay-out is included in Telionis
versal are present. In this figure the onset of flow reversal ap- and Koromilas [109].
pears first near the trailing edge and travels quickly upstream. In reference [109], the transient flow in the vicinity of separa-
Moment stall occurs when practically all the boundary layer is tion is investigated. Steady separation at two distinct locations,
reversed and then lift stall follows. In reference [95] we find /Si and Sn, over a circular arc is accomplished by giving a flap
more information about separation and separated flows and we located downstream, two extreme positions. Starting with the
will return to it later in this ection. Kenison [96] also reports on steady flow t h a t separates at Si, the flap inclination is then
a thin reversed layer that precedes separation in unsteady flows. changed impulsively and the transient flow is investigated. In
Having established t h a t a region of reversed flow may precede another set of experiments, the trailing portion of a flexible flat
the location of separation, we now return to unsteady separation plate is suddenly bent to form a region of strong adverse pressure
itself. Both the theoretical analysis and the experiment require gradient. Fig. 11 shows three frames obtained at times t = 0 + ,
an unambiguous criterion that will signal the fact that separation 0.4 and 0.8 seconds after the impulsive start. The flow is initially
is occurring. As almost always is the case with unsteady viscous attached. A very thin layer of reversed flow appears and propa-
flows, theoretical analysis preceded the experiment. Telionis and gates upstream. A more pronounced wake eddy is then gene-
Tsahalis [71, 97, 98] and the group of Nash, Carr, Singleton, rated which later evolves into a wake.
Patel, and Shruggs [67-70], integrating through the point of zero I t is quite interesting to note t h a t with the impulsive change
skin friction, reach a station where all the familiar properties of a of the pressure gradient, a strong vortex is formed in the wake.
separation singularity appear. They study the upstream ex- At the first instant of the flow, the vortex appears to force all the
cursions of the point of zero skin friction which is followed slow moving particles to order themselves, while the location of

Journal of Fluids Engineering MARCH 1979, Vol. 101 / 39

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separation remains unaffected. The boundary of the wake thus
thickens as the vortex becomes stronger. In other words, there
is a time delay similar to the one observed numerically in refcr-
ences [97 and 99] or analytically in reference [110]. We shoul<1
also emphasize here the fact that this phenomenon is strongly
reminiscent of trailing edge separation as described in refercnce
[95]. It is very interesting that in our case too, unsteady sepam-
tion takes the form of a well organized vortex that grow~ in
strength and then propagates over the surface of our rigid body
to arrive eventually at the new position of separation. ] t is
believed that even for very large Reynolds numbers, as in the
cases examined by Carr, McAlister, and McCroskey [95], the
unsteadiness reactivates the dead fluid and gives it the form of a
vortex which then moves accordingly, until its upstream bound-
ary reaches the new location of the point of separation.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Unsteady laminar flows are today well understood and theory
Fig. 11 t = O· and experiment are in good agreement provided we stay away
from the neighborhood of separation. A few weak points in thc
theory may still require some basic research, especially with
regard to the singularities that appear. Such singularities, how-
ever, as for example the leading edge singularity and its offsprinl!;
that travels downstream over an impulsively started flat plate,
or the separation singularity, are creations of our approximations
and bear little physical signifieance.
Oscillating turbulent flows are more common in engineering
applications but for the time being, our understanding of such
flows is rather limited. Very little experimental information was
available on the topic until only a few years ago. This information
pertains only to the mean and the organized part of the velocity
field. Very little was known about the turbulence intensity and
the periodic response of the statistical eorrelations. Conditional
sampling and the use of advanced equipment permitted investi-
gators recently to obtain valuable information on the organiwd
response of properties like turbulent energy, Reynolds stm~s
components, etc. Most of this work is still confined to flat pia te
flows. More information is urgently needed for oscillatory flows
with pressure gradients and for wider ranges of frequency. Thc
organized component of the Reynolds stress should be measUl'ed
in order to provide guidance for the development of appropriate
Fig. 11 t = 0.4s
The analytical models proposed up to now are based on Clll-
pirical constants and functions estimated by comparison to
steady flows; hence, their "postdictions" compare rather poorly
with the experimental data. This may be due to the fact that
until a few years ago there was very little experimental informa-
tion available. The most recent experimental results that we
have described should definitely provide valuable information
to the theoreticians. However, the experimentalists should pro-
vide accurate initial and boundary conditions of their experi-
ments, which are necessary in order to perform calculations. It.
has been common practice in the past to initialize the theoretical
calculations at a certain station far downstream of the leading
edge or the stagnation point. Starting with most of the charac-
teristic features of the flow already built-in, it is not surprising
if the results, a few stations further downstream, compare
favorably with the experimental data. A reliable theoretical
model should have the capability to predict the flow, even if in-
tegrated from the earlier steps of the shear-layer formation. To
avoid confusion with unsteady transition and oscillatory dis-
turbances that may be convected downstream, experimentalists
may have to trip their boundary layers and make sure that
transition is controlled.
Theoretical investigations may soon run into nonlinear phc-
Fig. 11 t = 0.8s nomena that permit the transfer of energy between the organizcd
and random fluctuations. All of the experimental information on
Fig. 11 Flow visualization of the neighborhood of separation for an external oscillating turbulent boundary layers pertains to im-
impulsive change of the pressure distribution for Re = 10' posed frequencies outside the spectrum of turbulence. However,

40/ Vol. 101, MARCH 1979 Transactions of the ASME

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it has been recently pointed out that in the case of a fluctuating 13 Patel, M. H., "On Laminar Boundary Layers in Oscil,
jet the externally imposed oscillations transfer energy into the latory Flow," Proceedings Royal Society of London, Vol. A347
turbulent motion. I t is believed t h a t theoretical investigations 1975, pp. 99-123.
14 Karlsson, S. K. F., "An Unsteady Turbulent Boundary
should be pursued, within the framework of conditionally aver- Layer," Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 5, 1959, pp. 622-63Q
aged equations. This essentially will require decomposition of the 15 Telionis, D . P., and Romaniuk, M. S., "Non-Linear
Reynolds stress to a mean and an organized oscillatory part. Streaming in Boundary Layer Flow," Proceedings of the 12th
Unsteady separation, and the determination of the size and Annual Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science, 1975, pn
1169-1180. ''
shape of the wake or a growing recirculating bubble, remains open 16 Cebeci, T., "Calculation of Unsteady Two-Dimensional
for investigation. Quite a few recent studies of unsteady flow Laminar and Turbulent Boundary Layers with Fluctuations in
over airfoils have indicated various unsteady flow patterns and External Velocity," Proceedings of Royal Society of London, Vol
identified the formation of large eddies that grow and propagate A355, 1977, pp. 225-238.
17 Telionis, D . P., and Romaniuk, M. S., "Velocity and
over the airfoil. However, the physical justification of such phe- Temperature Streaming in Oscillating Boundary Layers," AlAA
nomena and their analytical prediction appears to be very diffi- Journal, Vol. 16, 1978, pp. 488-495.
cult. Some investigators believe that such phenomena could be 18 Tsahalis, D. Th., and Telionis, D. P., "Oscillating
reproduced via first-order boundary-layer theories. No attempt Boundary Layers with Large Amplitude," in Unsteady Flows in
Jet Engines, ed. F . O. Carta, 1974, pp. 407-416.
has been made up to now to compare theoretical predictions with
19 Williams, J. C , III, "Large Amplitude, Low Frequency
experimental data. One of the reasons for failure to attempt such Solutions for a Certain Class of Laminar Boundary-Layer Prob-
comparisons is the fact that all of the available experimental in- lems," AIAA Journal, Vol. 12, Mar. 1974, pp. 26o-266.
information concerns complex flow fields that involve unsteady 20 Pedley, T. J., "Two-Dimensional Boundary Layers in a
transition and unsteady turbulent boundary layers. The work Free Stream Which Oscillates Without Reversing," Journal of
Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 55, 1972, pp. 359-383.
in this direction would require the definition of a simple unsteady 21 Schneck, D. J., and Walburn, F. J., "Pulsatile Blood
flow which would be easily reproduced in the laboratory. Finally, Flow in a Channel of Small Exponential Divergence—II Steady
it is the opinion of the present author t h a t transient separation Streaming Due to the Interaction of Viscous Effects with Con-
phenomena, and not oscillations of separation, should be closer vected Inertia," ASME Journal of Fluids Engineering, Vol. 98,
to real-life engineering problems like unsteady stall. Indeed, in 1976, pp. 707-714.
22 Ostrach, S., "Compressible Laminar Boundary Layer
most cases, separation performs a rapid excursion and is followed and Heat Transfer for Unsteady Motions of a Flat Plate," NACA
by an overall breakdown of the flow. Oscillatory flow fields with T N 3569, 1955.
steady separation or separation that oscillates in a small and well 23 Moore, F . K., and Ostrach, S., "Displacement Thickness
controlled manner appear to have little or no engineering im- of the Unsteady Boundary Layer," journal of the Aeronautical
Sciences, Vol. 124, 1957, pp. 77-85.
portance. 24 Illingworth, C. R., " T h e Effects of a Sound Wave on the
Compressible Boundary Layer on a Flat Plate," Journal of Fluid
Acknowledgments Mechanics, Vol. 3, 1958, pp. 471-493.
25 Gribben, R. J., "The Laminar Boundary Layer on a Hot
This work was partially supported by the U. S. Army Research Cylinder Fixed in a Fluctuating Stream," ASME Journal of
Applied Mechanics, Vol. 28, 1961, pp. 339-346.
Office under Grant No. DAHC04-75-0067. Dr. Maria Romani- 26 Gribben, R. J., "The Fluctuating Flow of a Gas Near a
uk, one of the author's associates, and Mrs. Marlene Taylor have Stagnation Point on a Hot Wall," ASME Journal of Applied
offered great help in preparing this manuscript; the first with Mechanics, Vol. 38, 1971, pp. 820-828.
criticism and meaningful discussions and the second with editing 27 Vimala, C. S., and Nath, G., "Unsteady Laminar
and typing of the manuscript. Their contribution is gratefully Boundary Layers in a Compressible Stagnation Flow," Journal
of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 70, 1975, pp. 561-572.
acknowledged. 28 Sarma, G. N., "A General Theory of Unsteady Compress-
ible Boundary Layers with and without Suction or Injection,"
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69 Patel, V. C , and Nash, J., "Some Solutions of the Un- Paper No. 20, 1977.

42 / Vol. 101, MARCH 1979 Transactions of the ASME

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97 Telionis, D . P., and Tsahalis, D . Th., "The Response of Laminar Boundary Layer on a Rotating Disk in a Counter-
Unsteady Boundary-Layer Separation to Impulsive Changes of Rotating Fluid," Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Vol. 79, 1977, pp.
Outer Flow," AIAA Journal, Vol. 12, 1974, pp. 614-619. 669-688.
98 Telionis, D . P., and Tsahalis, D. Th., "Unsteady Lam- 105 Schneck, D. J., "Pulsatile Blood Flow in a Channel of
inar Separation over Impulsively Moved Cylinders," Acta Small Exponential Divergence - I I I . Unsteady Flow Separation,"
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