Small-scale velocity fluctuations in turbulent boundary layers are often coupled with the larger-scale motions. Studying the nature and extent of this scale interaction allows for a statistically representative description of the small scales over a time scale of the larger, coherent scales. In this study, we consider temporal data from hot-wire anemometry at Reynolds numbers ranging from Reτ≈2800 to 22 800, in order to reveal how the scale interaction varies with Reynolds number. Large-scale conditional views of the representative amplitude and frequency of the small-scale turbulence, relative to the large-scale features, complement the existing consensus on large-scale modulation of the small-scale dynamics in the near-wall region. Modulation is a type of scale interaction, where the amplitude of the small-scale fluctuations is continuously proportional to the near-wall footprint of the large-scale velocity fluctuations. Aside from this amplitude modulation phenomenon, we reveal the influence of the large-scale motions on the characteristic frequency of the small scales, known as frequency modulation. From the wall-normal trends in the conditional averages of the small-scale properties, it is revealed how the near-wall modulation transitions to an intermittent-type scale arrangement in the log-region. On average, the amplitude of the small-scale velocity fluctuations only deviates from its mean value in a confined temporal domain, the duration of which is fixed in terms of the local Taylor time scale. These concentrated temporal regions are centred on the internal shear layers of the large-scale uniform momentum zones, which exhibit regions of positive and negative streamwise velocity fluctuations. With an increasing scale separation at high Reynolds numbers, this interaction pattern encompasses the features found in studies on internal shear layers and concentrated vorticity fluctuations in high-Reynolds-number wall turbulence.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Toward the development of high-fidelity models of wall turbulence at large Reynolds number’.
One contribution of 14 to a theme issue ‘Toward the development of high-fidelity models of wall turbulence at large Reynolds number’.
- Accepted October 17, 2016.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.