A theory is presented for calculating the fluctuations in a laminar boundary layer when the free stream is turbulent. The kinetic energy equation for these fluctuations is derived and a new mechanism is revealed for their production. A methodology is presented for solving the equation using standard boundary layer computer codes. Solutions of the equation show that the fluctuations grow at first almost linearly with distance and then more slowly as viscous dissipation becomes important. Comparisons of calculated growth rates and kinetic energy profiles with data show good agreement.
In addition, a hypothesis is advanced for the effective forcing frequency and free-stream turbulence level which produce these fluctuations. Finally, a method to calculate the onset of transition is examined and the results compared to data.