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Boundary Layers

Boundary Layers

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Published by: jega on May 13, 2009
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(c) Srinivas and Auld 2009 --- www.aerodynamics4students.com
Introducton to Boundary LayersViscous Effects in External Flows
The analysis we have carried out so far are such that viscosity did not make a direct appearance.Then the potential flows we considered in the previous Chapters were inviscid, i.e., we deliberatelyignored viscosity. In reality these flows are theoretical. we saw in the case of flow about a cylinder how viscosity alters the flow completely aft of the cylinder and its consequences. Any real flow innature is viscous. In fact, it is viscosity that makes the flow interesting and of course challenging tounderstand and calculate. It is viscosity that gives rise to many of the interesting physical features of aflow. One other area that makes a flow exciting even though inviscid is that of compressible flow.The birth and development of a Boundary Layer, its transition, the way a flow handles a pressuregradient and a possible separation are some of the topics we consider in this chapter. We postponeany discussion of the calculation procedures to later chapters and deal with only qualitative features atpresent.
Boundary Layer Flow
Recall our discussion in the very first chapter we had two parallel plates. One of the plates wasstationary (the lower one) and the other one moving. We said that there was a No Slip condition,which meant that the fluid does not slip past the solid in contact. Needless to say that this is a typicaleffect of viscosity.
Figure 1:
Formation of a Boundary Layer Let us now follow the effects as a flow approaches a solid body, to make it simple, a flat plate, Fig 1.Consider a uniform (inviscid) flow in front of a flat plate at a speed
. As soon as the flow 'hits'the plate No Slip Conditions gets into action. As a result, the velocity on the body becomes zero.Since the effect of viscosity is to resist fluid motion, the velocity close to the solid surface continuouslydecreases towards downstream. But away from the flat plate the speed is equal to the freestreamvalue of 
. Consequently a velocity gradient is set up in the fluid in a direction normal to flow.Thus a layer establishes itself close to the wall with a velocity gradient. This is what we call theBoundary Layer . We will find out later that this is a high Reynolds Number concept and is due toPrandtl, a leading German Aerodynamicist. The boundary layer is not a static phenomenon. It isdynamic. The thickness of boundary layer (the height from the solid surface where we first encounter 99% of free stream speed) continuously increases. A shear stress develops on the solid wall. It is thisshear stress that causes drag on the plate.Boundary layer has a pronounced effect upon any object which is immersed and moving in a fluid.Drag on an aeroplane or a ship and friction in a pipe are some of the common manifestations of boundary layer. Understandably, boundary layer has become a very important branch of fluid dynamicresearch.
 
Laminar and Turbulent Boundary Layers
A boundary layer may be laminar or turbulent. A laminar boundary layer is one where the flow takesplace in layers, i.e., each layer slides past the adjacent layers. This is in contrast to TurbulentBoundary Layers shown in Fig. 2. where there is an intense agitation.In a laminar boundary layer any exchange of mass or momentum takes place only between adjacentlayers on a microscopic scale which is not visible to the eye. Consequently molecular viscosity
isable predict the shear stress associated. Laminar boundary layers are found only when the Reynoldsnumbers are small.
Figure 2 :
 Typical velocity profiles for laminar and turbulent boundary layersA turbulent boundary layer on the other hand is marked by mixing across several layers of it. Themixing is now on a macroscopic scale. Packets of fluid may be seen moving across. Thus there is anexchange of mass, momentum and energy on a much bigger scale compared to a laminar boundarylayer. A turbulent boundary layer forms only at larger Reynolds numbers. The scale of mixing cannotbe handled by molecular viscosity alone. Those calculating turbulent flow rely on what is calledTurbulence Viscosity or Eddy Viscosity,which has no exact expression. It has to be numericallymodelled. Several models have been developed for the purpose.
Figure 3 :
 Typical velocity profiles for laminar and turbulent boundary layersAs a consequence of intense mixing a turbulent boundary layer has a steep gradient of velocity at thewall and therefore a large shear stress. In addition heat transfer rates are also high. Typical laminar 
 
and turbulent boundary layer profiles are shown in Fig 3.. Typical velocity profiles for laminar andturbulent boundary layers Growth Rate (the rate at which the boundary layer thickness
of alaminar boundary layer is small. For a flat plate it is given by
 x
=
5.0
 
 R
ex
(1)where
Re
x
is the Reynolds Number based on the length of the plate. For a turbulent flow it is given by
 x
=
0.385
 R
ex
0.2
(2)Wall shear stress is another parameter of interest in boundary layers. It is usually expressed asSkinfrictiondefined as 
 f  
=
w
12
2
(3)where
w
is the wall shear stress given by
w
=
u
y
 y
=
0
(4)and
is the free stream speed.Skin friction for laminar and turbulent flows are given by
 f  
=
0.664
 
 R
ex
, Laminar 
Flow
 
 f  
=
0.0594
 R
ex
0.2
,Turbulent
 Flow
(5)
Separation of Flow
Pressure gradient is an is one of the factors that influences a flow immensely. It is easy to see that theshear stress caused by viscosity has a retarding effect upon the flow. This effect can however beovercome if there is a negative pressure gradient offered to the flow. A negative pressure gradient istermed aFavourable pressure gradient. Such a gradient enables the flow. A positive pressuregradient has the opposite effect and is termed theAdverse Pressure Gradient. Fluid might find itdifficult to negotiate an adverse pressure gradient. Sometimes, we say the the fluid has to climb thepressure hill.

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