Transition to turbulence over 2D and 3D periodic large-scale roughnesses

A. M. Hamed, M. Sadowski, Z. Zhang, L. P. Chamorro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A laboratory investigation was performed to study distinctive features of the laminar-to-turbulent transition over distributed roughness characterized by two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) periodic, low-order topographies at roughness Reynolds number . Systematic experiments were performed using high-spatial-resolution planar particle image velocimetry (PIV) in a refractive-index-matching (RIM) channel, where the roughness covered the entire length of the test section. The results show that the flow over the 2D roughness becomes turbulent much sooner than its 3D counterpart ( versus 120 000). This is attributed to the presence of a velocity inflection point resulting from flow separation within the troughs of the 2D roughness. In the transitional region, unsteady disturbances above the two roughnesses appear upstream of near-roughness disturbances. The above-roughness disturbances are associated with the inflection point in the vertically displaced boundary layer for the 2D case, and with the mean velocity deficit resulting from the interaction of the wakes of upstream elements for the 3D case. The near-roughness fluctuations are associated with the shear layer present behind the crests of both roughnesses. The transitional region is characterized by the interaction between above- and near-roughness disturbances, which merge, leading to a rapid vertical growth of the turbulent fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R6
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Oct 10 2016


  • instability
  • transition to turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Transition to turbulence over 2D and 3D periodic large-scale roughnesses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this