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Non-equilibrium effects on hypersonic turbulent boundary layers


Understanding non-equilibrium effects of hypersonic turbulent boundary layers is essential in order to build cost efficient and reliable hypersonic vehicles. It is well known that non-equilibrium effects on the boundary layers are notable, but our understanding of the effects are limited. The overall goal of this study is to improve the understanding of non-equilibrium effects on hypersonic turbulent boundary layers. A new code has been developed for direct numerical simulations of spatially developing hypersonic turbulent boundary layers over a flat plate with finite-rate reactions. A fifth-order hybrid weighted essentially non-oscillatory scheme with a low dissipation finite-difference scheme is utilized in order to capture stiff gradients while resolving small motions in turbulent boundary layers. The code has been validated by qualitative and quantitative comparisons of two different simulations of a non-equilibrium flow and a spatially developing turbulent boundary layer.

With the validated code, direct numerical simulations of four different hypersonic turbulent boundary layers, perfect gas and non-equilibrium flows of pure oxygen and nitrogen, have been performed. In order to rule out uncertainties in comparisons, the same inlet conditions are imposed for each species, and then mean and turbulence statistics as well as near-wall turbulence structures are compared at a downstream location. Based on those comparisons, it is shown that there is no direct energy exchanges between internal and turbulent kinetic energies due to thermal and chemical non-equilibrium processes in the flow field. Instead, these non-equilibria affect turbulent boundary layers by changing the temperature without changing the main characteristics of near-wall turbulence structures. This change in the temperature induces the changes in the density and viscosity and the mean flow fields are then adjusted to satisfy the conservation laws. The perturbation fields are modified according to the adjusted mean field and the conservation laws. From this, it can be concluded that Morkovin’s hypothesis is still valid with thermal and chemical non-equilibrium, and the effects of non-equilibrium can be compensated by taking the variations of mean density and viscosity into account. In the present study, it is shown that a semi-local scale is a proper scale that can account for the non-equilibrium effects.

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