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A Mean Flow First Harmonic Theory for Hydrodynamic Instabilities

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A general theory is presented for nonlinear instabilities arising in steady hydrodynamic motions. For quasiparallel flows at high values of the Reynolds number it is found that for relatively small disturbance levels the usual ideas concerning the generation of higher harmonics and the subsequent modification of the fundamental may be overwhelmed by three dimensional interactions between the evolving mean flow and the first harmonic wave. The differences from and similarities to existing asymptotic and numerical studies are discussed. The theory developed applies to a variety of flow configurations. Numerical results are given for Poiseuille flow and the Blasius boundary layer. In addition the theory developed here is applied to simulate the instabilities produced in a boundary layer due to the presence of free stream disturbances.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Publication date: February 1, 1989

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