Experimental evidence of near-wall reverse flow events in a zero pressure gradient turbulent boundary layer

C. E. Willert, C. Cuvier, J. M. Foucaut, J. Klinner, M. Stanislas, J. P. Laval, S. Srinath, J. Soria, O. Amili, C. Atkinson, C. J. Kähler, S. Scharnowski, R. Hain, A. Schröder, R. Geisler, J. Agocs, A. Röse

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This study reports on experimentally observed rare near-wall reverse flow events in a fully developed turbulent flat plate boundary layer at zero pressure gradient with Reynolds numbers between Reθ≈2500 and Reθ≈8000 (Reτ≈800–2400). The reverse flow events are captured using high magnification particle image velocimetry sequences with record lengths varying from 50 000 to 126 000 samples. Time resolved particle image sequences allow singular reverse flow events to be followed over several time steps whereas long records of nearly statistically independent samples provide a variety of single snapshots at a higher spatial resolution. The probability of occurrence lies in the order of 0.012–0.018% which matches predictions from direct numerical simulations (DNS). The typical size of the reverse flow bubble is about 30 wall units in length and 5 wall units in height which agrees well with similar observations made in existing DNS data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-328
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Boundary layer
  • Flow reversal
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Turbulence statistics
  • Wall shear stress

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