Experimental investigation of the field of velocity gradients in turbulent flows

T. Dracos*, E. Kit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present results of experiments on a turbulent grid flow and a few results on measurements in the outer region of a boundary layer over a smooth plate. The air flow measurements included three velocity components and their nine gradients. This was done by a twelve-wire hot-wire probe (3 arrays x 4 wires), produced for this purpose using specially made equipment (micromanipulators and some other auxiliary special equipment), calibration unit and calibration procedure. The probe had no common prongs and the calibration procedure was based on constructing a calibration function for each combination of three wires in each array (total 12) as a three-dimensional Chebishev polynomial of fourth order. A variety of checks were made in order to estimate the reliability of the results. Among the results the most prominent are the experimental confirmation of the strong tendency for alignment between vorticity and the intermediate eigenvector of the rate-of-strain tensor, the positiveness of the total enstrophy-generating term [formula ommited] even for rather short records and the tendency for alignment in the strict sense between vorticity and the vortex stretching vector Wi = ωj sij. An emphasis is put on the necessity to measure invariant quantities, i.e. independent of the choice of the system of reference (e.g. sijsij and ωi ωj sij) as the most appropriate to describe physical processes. From the methodological point of view the main result is that the multi-hot-wire technique can be successfully used for measurements of all the nine velocity derivatives in turbulent flows, at least at moderate Reynolds numbers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-192
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Issue number24
StatePublished - Sep 1992


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