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Source-sink turbulence in a stratified fluid

  • B. M. Boubnov (a1) (a2), S. B. Dalziel (a1) and P. F. Linden (a1)


A new method of generating turbulence in a stratified fluid is presented. The flow is forced by a symmetric array of sources and sinks placed around the perimeter of a tank containing stratified fluid. The sources and sinks are located in a horizontal plane and the flow from the sources is directed horizontally, so that fluid is withdrawn from and re-injected at its neutral density level with some horizontal momentum. The sources and sinks are arranged so that no net impulse or angular momentum is imparted to the flow. Measurements of the mixing produced by the turbulence are made using a conductivity probe to record the vertical density profile. The flow field is measured by tracking small neutrally buoyant particles which are placed within the fluid. The tracking of the particles and analysis of the flow fields are done automatically using DigImage, a recently developed suite of particle tracking software. The characteristics of the flow are found to depend on the forcing parameter F = V/Nd, where V is the mean velocity of the flow through the source orifices, d is the diameter of the sources and sinks and N is the buoyancy frequency of the stratification. At large F three-dimensional turbulence is produced within a mixed layer centred on the level of the sources and sinks. A comparison of mixing rates measured in this and more conventional experiments is made, and it is concluded that in terms of the local turbulence parameters the entrainment rates are similar. At low F, no significant mixing occurs and the flow is approximately two-dimensional with very small vertical velocities. Under these circumstances a qualitative change in the characteristics of the flow occurs after the experiment has been running for some hours. It is observed that the scale of the motion increases until there is an accumulation of the energy at the largest scale that can be accommodated within the tank. The structure of this large-scale circulation is analysed and it is found that a form of vorticity expulsion from the interior of the circulation has occurred. These results are compared with numerical simulations of two-dimensional turbulence, and some measurements of turbulent decay are discussed.



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Source-sink turbulence in a stratified fluid

  • B. M. Boubnov (a1) (a2), S. B. Dalziel (a1) and P. F. Linden (a1)


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