Reynolds Stress and the Physics of Turbulent Momentum Transport
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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The nature of the momentum transport processes responsible for the Reynolds shear stress is investigated using several ensembles of fluid particle paths obtained from a direct numerical simulation of turbulent channel flow. It is found that the Reynolds stress can be viewed as arising from two fundamentally different mechanisms. The more significant entails transport in the manner described by Prandtl in which momentum is carried unchanged from one point to another by the random displacement of fluid particles. One point models, such as the gradient law are found to be inherently unsuitable for representing this process. However, a potentially useful non-local approximation to displacement transport, depending on the global distribution of the mean velocity gradient, may be developed as a natural consequence of its definition. A second important transport mechanism involves fluid particles experiencing systematic acceleration and decelerations. Close to the wall this results in a reduction in Reynolds stress due to the slowing of sweep type motions. Further away Reynolds stress is produced in spiraling motions for which particles accelerate or decelerate while changing direction. Both transport mechanisms appear to be closely associated with the dynamics of vortical structures in the wall region.
- Fluid Mechanics