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Fountains impinging on a density interface. (English) Zbl 1159.76300
Summary: We present an experimental study of an axisymmetric turbulent fountain in a two-layer stratified environment. Interacting with the interface, the fountain is observed to exhibit three regimes of flow. It may penetrate the interface, but nonetheless return to the source where it spreads as a radially propagating gravity current; the return flow may be trapped at the interface where it spreads as a radially propagating intrusion or it may do both. These regimes have been classified using empirically determined regime parameters which govern the relative initial momentum of the fountain and the relative density difference of the fountain and the ambient fluid. The maximum vertical distance travelled by the fountain in a two-layer fluid has been theoretically determined by extending the theory developed for fountains in a homogeneous environment. The theory compares favourably with experimental measurements. We have also developed a theory to analyse the initial speeds of the resulting radial currents. The spreading currents exhibited two different flow regimes: a constant-velocity regime and an inertia-buoyancy regime in which the front position, \(R\), scales with time, \(t\), as \(R \sim t^{3/4}\). These regimes were classified using a critical Froude number which characterized the competing effects of momentum and buoyancy in the currents.

MSC:
76-05 Experimental work for problems pertaining to fluid mechanics
76F45 Stratification effects in turbulence
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