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High-Reynolds-number weakly stratified flow past an obstacle

  • S. I. Chernyshenko (a1) and Ian P. Castro (a2)

Abstract

Stably stratified steady flow past a bluff body in a channel is considered for cases in which the stratification is not sufficiently strong to give solutions containing wave motions. The physical mechanisms by which stratification influences the flow are revealed. In particular, the drag reduction under weak stratification, observed in experiments, is explained. This is achieved by constructing an asymptotic laminar solution for high Reynolds number (Re) and large channel width, which explicitly gives the mechanisms, and using comparisons with numerical results for medium Re and experiments for turbulent flows to argue that these mechanisms are expected to be common in all cases. The results demonstrate the possibility, subject to certain restrictions, of using steady high-Re theory as a tool for studying qualitative features of real flows.

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