A Conservation-Based Transitional Boundary Layer Model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A simple, flow-physics-based model of flat-plate, transitional boundary layer skin friction and heat transfer is presented. The model is based on the assumption of negligible time-, spanwise-, and streamwise-average wall-normal velocity at the top of the boundary layer. This results in a threefold increase in boundary layer thickness over the transition region. This simple velocity assumption and its boundary-layer growth implications seem to be reasonably consistent with more sophisticated (direct numerical simulation (DNS)) modeling simulations. Only two modeling parameters need to be assumed, the Reynolds numbers at the onset and at the completion of transition, for which there is guidance based on freestream turbulence intensity for smooth plates. Several experimental datasets for air are modeled. New criteria are proposed to help define the onset and completion of transition: zero net vertical (wall-normal) velocity or mass flux (integrated in time and space, spanwise and streamwise) at the top of the boundary layer, and tripling of boundary layer thickness. Also presented is a minor improvement to a previously published unheated starting length factor for flat-plate laminar boundary layers with uniform wall heat flux.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101801
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Transitional boundary layer
  • laminar-turbulent transition
  • unheated starting length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A Conservation-Based Transitional Boundary Layer Model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this