This report presents a computational-simulation study of effects of perturbation wavelengths and initial Reynolds numbers on the transition to turbulence of a heptane/nitrogen mixing layer at supercritical pressure. The governing equations for the simulations were the same as those of related prior studies reported in NASA Tech Briefs. Two-dimensional (2D) simulations were performed with initially imposed spanwise perturbations whereas three-dimensional (3D) simulations had both streamwise and spanwise initial perturbations.

The 2D simulations were undertaken to ascertain whether perturbations having the shortest unstable wavelength obtained from a linear stability analysis for inviscid flow are unstable in viscous nonlinear flows. The goal of the 3D simulations was to ascertain whether perturbing the mixing layer at different wavelengths affects the transition to turbulence.

It was found that transitions to turbulence can be obtained at different perturbation wavelengths, provided that they are longer than the shortest unstable wavelength as determined by 2D linear stability analysis for the inviscid case and that the initial Reynolds number is proportionally increased as the wavelength is decreased. The transitional states thus obtained display different dynamic and mixture characteristics, departing strongly from the behaviors of perfect gases and ideal mixtures.

This work was done by Nora Okong'o and Josette Bellan of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-40194

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2008 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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