Cross-plane stereo-PIV measurements in a refractive-index-matched environment of flow associated with barchan dunes immersed in a turbulent boundary layer


  • Nathaniel Bristow University of Notre Dame
  • Gianluca Blois University of Notre Dame
  • James Best University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Kenneth Christensen University of Notre Dame; Illinois Institute of Technology



stereo-PIV, barchan dunes, turbulent boundary layers, refractive-index-matching


Barchan dunes are crescent-shaped bedforms that form in aeolian (i.e., wind-driven) environments (including both Earth and other planets, such as Mars) as well as subaqueous environments. Under the forcing of the aloft turbulent boundary layer, they migrate downstream at a rate inversely proportional to their size, which results in complex interactions between neighboring dunes of disparate scales. In particular, it has been observed that dunes will interact at a distance, causing changes in morphology without contacting each other, which is thought to be driven by the way dunes modify the local flow field Bristow et al. (2018); Assis and Franklin (2020).

In this study, the coherent structures formed in the wakes of barchan dunes are investigated using measurements of the flow over fixed-bed (i.e., solid) barchan models, both in the wake of an isolated barchan and the interdune region between interacting barchans (Fig. 1(a)). Furthermore, the interactions between the flow structures shed by the dunes and the structures in the incoming boundary layer are analyzed.






Boundary Layers