Numerical simulations for incompressible three-dimensional laminar forced convection flow adjacent to backward-facing step in rectangular duct are performed to examine the reattachment region of the separated flow on the stepped wall. The feasibility of utilizing the two-dimensional flow definition and the limiting streamline definition for identifying the reattachment line/region was examined. The downwash and the “jet-like” flow that develops near the sidewall creates significant spanwise flow adjacent to the stepped wall, making it difficult to identify a reattachment line/region both numerically and experimentally. The use of the line/region that identifies the location on a plane adjacent to the stepped wall where the gradient of the mean streamwise velocity component is zero u/y|y=0=0 is recommended for code and apparatus validation of three-dimensional separated flow.

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