On the Underlying Drag-Reduction Mechanisms of Flow-Control Strategies in a Transitional Channel Flow: Temporal Approach

Alexander J. Rogge, Jae Sung Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The underlying mechanisms of three different flow-control strategies on drag reduction in a channel flow are investigated by direct numerical simulations at friction Reynolds numbers ranging from 65 to 85. These strategies include the addition of long-chain polymers, the incorporation of slip surfaces, and the application of an external body force. While it has been believed that such methods lead to a skin-friction reduction by controlling near-wall flow structures, the underlying mechanisms at play are still not as clear. In this study, a temporal analysis is employed to elucidate underlying drag-reduction mechanisms among these methods. The analysis is based on the lifetime of intermittent phases represented by the active and hibernating phases of a minimal turbulent channel flow (Xi and Graham, Phys Rev Lett 2010). At a similar amount of drag reduction, the polymer and slip methods show a similar mechanism, while the body force method is different. The polymers and slip surfaces cause hibernating phases to happen more frequently, while the duration of active phases is decreased. However, the body forces cause hibernating phases to happen less frequently but prolong its duration to achieve a comparable amount of drag reduction. A possible mechanism behind the body force method is associated with its unique roller-like vortical structures formed near the wall. These structures appear to prevent interactions between inner and outer regions by which hibernating phases are prolonged. It should motivate adaptive flow-control strategies to exploit the distinct underlying mechanisms for robust control of turbulent drag at low Reynolds numbers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1001-1016
Number of pages16
JournalFlow, Turbulence and Combustion
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Direct numerical simulation
  • Drag-reduction mechanism
  • Flow control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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