Natural versus forced convection in laminar starting plumes

Natural versus forced convection
in laminar starting plumes

Physics of Fluids, 21, 083601 (2009).

Michael C. Rogers and Stephen W. Morris

Department of Physics, University of Toronto, 60 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A7.

A starting plume or jet has a well-defined, evolving head that is driven through the surrounding quiescent fluid by a localized flux of either buoyancy or momentum, or both. We studied the scaling and morphology of starting plumes produced by a constant flux of buoyant fluid from a small, submerged outlet. The plumes were laminar and spanned a wide range of plume Richardson numbers Ri. Ri is the dimensionless ratio of the buoyancy forces to inertial effects, and is thus our measurements crossed over the transition between buoyancy-driven plumes and momentum-driven jets. We found that the ascent velocity of the plume, nondimensionalized by Ri, exhibits a power law relationship with Re, the Reynolds number of the injected fluid in the outlet pipe. We also found that as the threshold between buoyancy-driven and momentum-driven flow was crossed, two distinct types of plume head mophologies existed: confined heads, produced in the Ri > 1 regime, and dispersed heads, which are found in the Ri < 1 regime. Head dispersal is caused by a breakdown of overturning motion in the head, and a local Kelvin-Helmholtz instability on the exterior of the plume.


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