Channel flow, initially fully developed and two-dimensional, is subjected to mean strains that emulate the effect of rapid changes of streamwise and spanwise pressure gradients in three-dimensional boundary layers, ducts, or diffusers. As in previous studies of homogeneous turbulence, this is done by deforming the domain of a direct numerical simulation (DNS); here however the domain is periodic in only two directions and contains parallel walls. The velocity difference between the inner and outer layers is controlled by accelerating the channel walls in their own plane, as in earlier studies of three-dimensional channel flows. By simultaneously moving the walls and straining the domain we duplicate both the inner and outer regions of the spatially developing case. The results are used to address basic physics and modelling issues. Flows subject to impulsive mean three-dimensionality with and without the mean deceleration of an adverse pressure gradient (APG) are considered: strains imitating swept-wing and pure skewing (sideways turning) three-dimensional boundary layers are imposed. The APG influences the structure of the turbulence, measured for example by the ratio of shear stress to kinetic energy, much more than does the pure skewing. For both deformations, the evolution of the Reynolds stress is profoundly affected by changes to the velocity–pressure-gradient correlation [Pi]ij. This term – which represents the finite time required for the mean strain to modify the shape and orientation of the turbulent motions – is primarily responsible for the difference (lag) in direction between the mean shear and the turbulent shear stresses, a well-known feature of perturbed three-dimensional boundary layers. Files containing the DNS database and model-testing software are available from the authors for distribution, as tools for future closure-model testing
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