Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Aerospace Turbulent shear layer what is it and its aeroacoustic properties

  1. Sep 20, 2011 #1

    i would just like to clarify some terms used in aerodynamics with you guys here and find out more about these terms at the same time.

    Turbulent shear layer: Does this term refer to the first layer of air immediately adjacent to the wall surface over which the air flows? Turbulent eddies here would have a very small length scale as compared to the solid surface? How is this layer different from/related to turbulent boundary layer and turbulent wake?

    From my understanding, turbulent wake is simply the turbulence downstream of the airfoil, generated by perhaps vortex shedding at the trailing edge.

    Turbulent boundary layer is simply the layer of airflow over the surface where the turbulent shear layer is a part of.

    Also, what are the different acoustic characteristics generated by each of these entities?

    thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Technically speaking, a shear layer doesn't have to be a boundary layer against a wall. A shear layer can be any layer for which there is a shear stress which results in a velocity gradient. Oftentimes boundary layers are referred to as shear layers, so knowing the context of what you are reading would help.

    A turbulent wake is as you have described it.

    The turbulent boundary layer is a boundary layer whose fluid instabilities have grown to the point where the flow exhibits strong mixing and repeating vortical structures at progressively smaller scales. A turbulent boundary layer is not actually stochastic as it is sometimes treated, but is actually deterministic. There is some strong evidence that it is a both spatially and temporally chaotic system, though it hasn't been proven.

    Again, how it differs from a turbulent shear layer depends on the context. A boundary layer is a type of shear layer, but your source may well have been referring to a free-shear layer as well, which is different and can also be turbulent and are typically jets erupting into a stationary (or slower) medium.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook