The reasons for the difficulty in simulating accurately strong 3-D shock wave/turbulent boundary layer interactions (SBLIs) and high-alpha flows with classical turbulence models are investigated. These flows are characterized by the appearance of strong crossflow separation. In view of recent additional evidence, a previously published flow analysis, which attributes the poor performance of classical turbulence models to the observed laminarization of the separation domain, is reexamined. According to this analysis, the longitudinal vortices into which the separated boundary layer rolls up in this type of separated flow, transfer external inviscid air into the part of the separation adjacent to the wall, decreasing its turbulence. It is demonstrated that linear models based on the Boussinesq equation provide solutions of moderate accuracy, while non-linear ones and others that consider the particular structure of the flow are more efficient. Published and new Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) simulations are reviewed, as well as results from a recent Large Eddy Simulation (LES) study, which indicate that in calculations characterized by sufficient accuracy the turbulent kinetic energy of the reverse flow inside the separation vortices is very low, i.e.
, the flow is almost laminar there.
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