We investigate the scaling of the energy-containing eddies in the outer part of turbulent wall layers. Their spanwise integral length scales are extracted from a direct numerical simulation (DNS) database, which includes compressible turbulent boundary layers and incompressible turbulent Couette-Poiseuille flows. The results indicate similar behaviour for all classes of flows, with a general increasing trend in the eddy size with the wall distance. A family of scaling relationships are proposed based on simple dimensional arguments, of which the classical mixing length approximation constitutes one example. As in previous studies, we find that the mixing length is in good agreement with the size distribution of the eddies carrying wall-normal velocity, which are active in establishing the mean velocity distribution. However, we find that the eddies associated with wall-parallel motions obey a different scaling, which is controlled by the local mean shear and by an effective eddy diffusivity v t = u τ*δ, where u τ*δ is the compressible counterpart of the friction velocity, and δ is the thickness of the wall layer. The validity of the proposed scalings is checked against DNS data, and the potential implications for the understanding of wall turbulence are discussed. © 2012 Cambridge University Press.
On the size of the energy-containing eddies in the outer turbulent wall layer / Pirozzoli, Sergio. - In: JOURNAL OF FLUID MECHANICS. - ISSN 0022-1120. - 702:(2012), pp. 521-532. [10.1017/jfm.2012.204]