Entrainment and detrainment from a model boundary layer

Meihong Sun*, Seth Lichter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A two-dimensional inviscid flow with piecewise-uniform regions of vorticity is studied as a model of the high-Reynolds-number mixing between a boundary layer and an outer layer. It is found that an initial disturbance to the boundary-layer thickness breaks down into a wave field plus, if the initial disturbance is steep enough, a volume of entrained fluid. The entrained fluid is drawn from the outer layer and then folded into a crevice. The crevice stretches, and eventually pinches off, becoming completely enveloped within the boundary layer. Though the entrained fluid is slender in shape, its volume is significant. Very steep disturbances result in detrainment, in which a small parcel of fluid detaches from the boundary layer and curls into the outer layer. The v-velocity field agrees with many features of Kovasznay et al.'s (1970) measurements in the turbulent boundary layer. This correspondence with fully turbulent flow, plus the characteristics of folding and stretching large volumes of fluid, make the process presented here a candidate for a mechanism by which high-Reynolds-number boundary layers mix with outer-layer fluid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-159
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jun 25 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Entrainment and detrainment from a model boundary layer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this