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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 deliberately

ignored 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 in

nature is viscous. In fact, it is viscosity that makes the flow interesting and of course challenging to

understand and calculate. It is viscosity that gives rise to many of the interesting physical features of a

flow. 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 pressure

gradient and a possible separation are some of the topics we consider in this chapter. We postpone

any discussion of the calculation procedures to later chapters and deal with only qualitative features at

present.

Recall our discussion in the very first chapter we had two parallel plates. One of the plates was

stationary (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 typical

effect of viscosity.

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 U ∞ . 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 continuously

decreases towards downstream. But away from the flat plate the speed is equal to the freestream

value of U ∞ . 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 the

Boundary Layer. We will find out later that this is a high Reynolds Number concept and is due to

Prandtl, a leading German Aerodynamicist. The boundary layer is not a static phenomenon. It is

dynamic. 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 this

shear 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 dynamic

research.

Laminar and Turbulent Boundary Layers

A boundary layer may be laminar or turbulent. A laminar boundary layer is one where the flow takes

place in layers, i.e., each layer slides past the adjacent layers. This is in contrast to Turbulent

Boundary 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 adjacent

layers on a microscopic scale which is not visible to the eye. Consequently molecular viscosity is

able predict the shear stress associated. Laminar boundary layers are found only when the Reynolds

numbers are small.

Figure 2 : Typical velocity profiles for laminar and turbulent boundary layers

A turbulent boundary layer on the other hand is marked by mixing across several layers of it. The

mixing is now on a macroscopic scale. Packets of fluid may be seen moving across. Thus there is an

exchange of mass, momentum and energy on a much bigger scale compared to a laminar boundary

layer. A turbulent boundary layer forms only at larger Reynolds numbers. The scale of mixing cannot

be handled by molecular viscosity alone. Those calculating turbulent flow rely on what is called

Turbulence Viscosity or Eddy Viscosity, which has no exact expression. It has to be numerically

modelled. Several models have been developed for the purpose.

Figure 3 : Typical velocity profiles for laminar and turbulent boundary layers

As a consequence of intense mixing a turbulent boundary layer has a steep gradient of velocity at the

wall 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 and

turbulent boundary layers Growth Rate (the rate at which the boundary layer thickness of a

laminar boundary layer is small. For a flat plate it is given by

5.0

= (1)

x Rex

where Rex is the Reynolds Number based on the length of the plate. For a turbulent flow it is given by

0.385

= 0.2 (2)

x Rex

Wall shear stress is another parameter of interest in boundary layers. It is usually expressed as Skin

friction defined as

w

C f=

1 (3)

U 2∞

2

w =

∂u

∂y y=0

(4)

Skin friction for laminar and turbulent flows are given by

0.664

C f= , Laminar Flow

Rex

0.0594

C f= ,Turbulent Flow (5)

R0.2

ex

Separation of Flow

Pressure gradient is an is one of the factors that influences a flow immensely. It is easy to see that the

shear stress caused by viscosity has a retarding effect upon the flow. This effect can however be

overcome if there is a negative pressure gradient offered to the flow. A negative pressure gradient is

termed a Favourable pressure gradient. Such a gradient enables the flow. A positive pressure

gradient has the opposite effect and is termed the Adverse Pressure Gradient. Fluid might find it

difficult to negotiate an adverse pressure gradient. Sometimes, we say the the fluid has to climb the

pressure hill.

Figure 4 : Separation of flow over a curved surface

One of the severe effects of an adverse pressure gradient is to separate the flow. Consider flow past

a curved surface as shown in Fig. 4. The geometry of the surface is such that we have a favourable

gradient in pressure to start with and up to a point P. The negative pressure gradient will counteract

the retarding effect of the shear stress (which is due to viscosity) in the boundary layer. For the

geometry considered we have a an adverse pressure gradient downstream of P.

Now the adverse pressure gradient begins to retard. This effect is felt more strongly in the regions

close to the wall where the momentum is lower than in the regions near the free stream. As indicated

in the figure, the velocity near the wall reduces and the boundary layer thickens. A continuous

retardation of flow brings the wall shear stress at the point S on the wall to zero. From this point

onwards the shear stress becomes negative and the flow reverses and a region of recirculating flow

develops. We see that the flow no longer follows the contour of the body. We say that the flow has

separated. The point S where the shear stress is zero is called the Point of Separation.

Depending on the flow conditions the recirculating flow terminate and the flow may become

reattached to the body. A separation bubble is formed. There are a variety of factors that could

influence this reattachment. The pressure gradient may be now favourable due to body geometry and

other reasons. The other factor is that the flow initially laminar may undergo transition within the

bubble and may become turbulent. A turbulent flow has more energy and momentum than a laminar

flow. This can kill separation and the flow may reattach. A short bubble may not be of much

consequence.

On aerofoils sometimes the separation occurs near the leading edge and gives rise to a short bubble.

What can be dangerous is the separation occurring more towards the trailing edge and the flow not

reattaching. In this situation the separated region merges with the wake and may result in stall of the

aerofoil (loss of lift).

Drag

Drag is a force that opposes motion. An aircraft flying has to overcome the drag force upon it, a ball in

flight, a sailing ship and an automobile at high speed are some of the other examples. It is clear that

viscosity is an agent that causes drag. We have seen that it gives raise to boundary layers on solid

surfaces. There is shear stress in boundary layers that do tend to retard the motion of fluid past the

solid surface. This is sketched for an aerofoil surface in Fig 6. This is termed Skin friction Drag

.

There is another agent that can cause drag. This is the pressure difference upon the flow. This could

come about due to geometrical effects that induce separation as happens with a cylinder to be

discussed later. This is called Pressure Drag or Form Drag, since it is due to the body geometry.

The sum of pressure drag and skin friction drag constitutes Drag about the body or Profile Drag.

The shape of the body determines the relative magnitude of the drag components. A thin body (small

t/l ratio) as shown in Fig. 7. obviously causes less pressure drag. Almost all drag comes from skin

friction. A thick body (large t/l ratio) is readily prone for separation and produces considerable

pressure drag. Streamlining a body to avoid separation will enable to decrease pressure drag

considerably. It is obvious that a bluff body like a cylinder or a sphere or a flat plate placed normal to

flow will cause separation and lead to pressure drag which may far more than the skin friction drag. In

case of a flat plate placed parallel to flow (Fig.8 ), it is the skin friction drag that dominates. On the

other hand, in case of a flat plate placed normal to flow, it is the pressure drag that dominates. In the

latter case, the plate behaves like a blunt body and gives raise to separation behind it which

contributes to pressure drag.

Figure 8 : Drag about a flat plate

Drag Coefficient

Drag

C D=

1 (6)

U2 A

2 ∞ ∞

where CD is defined as Drag Coefficient. U ∞ is the free stream speed, ∞ is the free stream

density, A is the area. What area to use depends upon the application. In case of a cylinder it is the

projected area normal to flow. For a flow past a thin flat plate, it will be the area of plate exposed to

flow.

The relative importance of the two kinds of drag is very apparent in case of flow over a circular

cylinder or a sphere. The flow depends strongly upon Reynolds number as is clear from Fig. 9. When

the Reynolds numbers are small (1 and below)the flow behaves like a potential flow. There is no

separation. The drag is all due to skin friction. As the Reynolds number is increased this drag

decreases. At Reynolds numbers around 2 - 30, there is a separation of boundary layer, but the wake

is of a limited length. The eddies formed seem fixed behind the cylinder. For Reynolds numbers close

to 40 -70, there is a periodic oscillation of the wake. For higher Reynolds numbers the eddies break

off from the cylinder. As the Reynolds number is increased, the eddies are continuously shed from the

cylinder and washed downstream. Two rows of vortices are formed called the Vortex Street. Now the

pressure drag contributes to almost 90% of the total drag. The value of CD reaches a minimum of

around 0.9 at a Reynolds number of around 2000. Increasing the Reynolds numbers further results in

large angular velocities and a degeneration of vortices into turbulence.

Figure 9 : Flow past a Circular Cylinder at various Reynolds Numbers

Figure 10 : Flow past a Circular Cylinder at various Reynolds Numbers, continued.

In the Reynolds number range 104 to 105 one sees a laminar boundary layer to the left of the vertical

centreline of the cylinder (Fig.10.). The flow separates at point S, which makes an angle of about 800

with the centre of the cylinder. A wide wake is seen downstream. The pressure in the separated

regions is almost constant. The observed CP distribution is shown in Fig 31 in the section on Potential

Flow.. The net pressure difference PA - PB contributes to pressure drag. A dramatic change takes

place when the Reynolds number is around 2x105 when the boundary layer becomes turbulent before

separation. Now the separation is postponed since a turbulent boundary layer is able to sustain for a

longer time than a laminar flow. The point of separation S now is found at 1300 as shown in Fig.10.

Notice that the wake has now narrowed. The CP distribution indicates that the pressure in the wake is

now higher than that for the laminar case (Fig 31 Potential Flow Section). The consequence is that CD

is now reduced to about 0.3.

This reduction in drag around the cylinder is exploited in golf. The purpose of providing dimples on

golf ball is to trip turbulence in order to decrease drag. Bowlers in cricket, especially the ones that

bowl swings would like to have one side of the ball shining than the other. The idea is to keep flow on

one side of the ball laminar and the other one turbulent. The ball is to swing from the laminar to the

turbulent side.

It is clear that decrease in pressure drag can be achieved by delaying or stopping separation of flow.

One of the strategies developed is to streamline the body. An aerofoil surface is an excellent example

while the birds and fish are natural examples of this.

Figure 11 gives the numerical values of CD for some of the familiar two-dimensional shapes. It is clear

that CD depends upon the orientation of the object to the flow. CD values for some of the three-

dimensional objects are given in Fig. 12.

Figure 11 : CDvalues for familiar two-dimensional objects.

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