Experiments on rapidly rotating turbulent flows

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Abstract

A novel laboratory experiment for investigating statistically steady rotating turbulence is presented. Turbulence is produced nonintrusively by means of electromagnetic forcing. Depending on the rotation rate the Taylor-based Reynolds number is found to be in the range of 90¿Re¿¿240. Relevant properties of the turbulence, both with and without rotation, have been quantified with stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (SPIV). This method enables instantaneous measurement of all three velocity components in horizontal planes at a distance H from the bottom. The root-mean-square turbulent velocity decreases inversely proportional to H in the nonrotating experiments and is approximately constant when background rotation is applied. The integral length scale shows a weak H-dependence in the nonrotating experiments which is presumably due to the spatial extent of the forcing. Based on the behavior of the principal invariants of the Reynolds stress anisotropy tensor, the rotating turbulence has been characterized as a three-dimensional two-component flow. Furthermore, these SPIV measurements provide supporting evidence for (i) reduction of the dissipation rate, (ii) suppression of the vertical velocity as compared to the horizontal velocity, and (iii) increased spatial and temporal correlation of the horizontal velocity components, with the temporal correlation growing ever stronger as the rotation rate is increased. A less commonly known feature of rotating turbulence, quantified here for the first time in a laboratory setting, is the reverse dependence on the rotation rate of the spatial horizontal velocity correlation functions. Another interesting result concerns the linear (anomalous) scaling of the longitudinal spatial structure function exponents in the presence of rotation, consistent with a study by Baroud et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 114501 (2002) ].
Original languageEnglish
Article number096601
Pages (from-to)096601-1/20
Number of pages20
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Volume21
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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