Two similar problems are considered: what is the effect of applying a uniform and constant rate of strain (i) to the two-dimensional thermal mixing region in a homogeneous grid-generated turbulent field, and (ii) to the two-dimensional velocity mixing region formed between two uniform streams moving with different mean velocities? The imposed strain field is orientated so as to compress or separate the isothermal and isokinetic surfaces in the plane of interest.
Two theoretical models are presented; in the first, the profiles of temperature and velocity are assumed to be self-preserving and an assumption is made about the velocity scales; in the second, the statistical, rapid-distortion approach to dispersion due to Hunt & Mulhearn (1973) is applied. The circumstances in which these models differ and those where the simpler self-preserving model can be applied are determined. The measurements presented here indicate that the widths of both mixing layers decrease within the strain field, the width of the thermal mixing layer decreasing at a greater rate than that of the velocity mixing layer. However, the measured length scales were found to be 5% larger than the scales predicted by either of the analyses, which differed from each other by 5%. It is suggested that selective amplification of the energy-containing eddies by the strain field is responsible.