Transient thermal response of turbulent compressible boundary layers

Hongwei Li, M. Razi Nalim, Charles L. Merkle

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


A numerical method is developed with the capability to predict transient thermal boundary layer response under various flow and thermal conditions. The transient thermal boundary layer variation due to a moving compressible turbulent fluid of varying temperature was numerically studied on a two-dimensional semi-infinite flat plate. The compressible Reynolds-averaged boundary layer equations are transformed into incompressible form through the Dorodnitsyn-Howarth transformation and then solved with similarity transformations. Turbulence is modeled using a two-layer eddy viscosity model developed by Cebeci and Smith, and the turbulent Prandtl number formulation originally developed by Kays and Crawford. The governing differential equations are discretized with the Keller-box method. The numerical accuracy is validated through grid-independence studies and comparison with the steady state solution. In turbulent flow as in laminar, the transient heat transfer rates are very different from that obtained from quasi-steady analysis. It is found that the time scale for response of the turbulent boundary layer to far-field temperature changes is 40% less than for laminar flow, and the turbulent local Nusselt number is approximately 4 times that of laminar flow at the final steady state. © 2011 American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number081701
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Transient
  • Turbulent
  • Wave rotor
  • Boundary layer


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