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Publication# Scaling of the translational velocity of vortex rings behind conical objects

Abstract

Ring vortices are efficient at transporting fluid across long distances. They can be found in nature in various ways: they propel squids, inject blood in the heart, and entertain dolphins. These vortices are generally produced by ejecting a volume of fluid through a circular orifice. The impulse given to the vortex rings moving away results in a propulsive force on the vortex generator. Propulsive vortex rings have been widely studied and characterized. After four convective times, the vortex moves faster than the shear layer it originates from and separates from it. When the vortex separates, the circulation of the vortex reaches a maximum value, and the nondimensional energy attains a minimum. The simultaneity of these three events obfuscates the causality between them. To analyze the temporal evolution of the nondimensional energy of ring vortices independent of their separation, we analyze the spatiotemporal development of vortices generated in the wake of cones. Cones with different apertures and diameters were accelerated from rest to produce a wide variety of vortex rings. The energy, circulation, and velocity of these vortices were extracted based on time-resolved velocity field measurements. The vortex rings that form behind the cones have a self-induced velocity that causes them to follow the cone, and they continue to grow as the cone travels well beyond the limiting vortex formation timescales observed for propulsive vortices. The nondimensional circulation, based on the vortex diameter, and the nondimensional energy of the drag vortex rings converge after three convective times to values comparable to their propulsive counterparts. This result proves that vortex pinch-off does not cause the nondimensional energy to reach a minimum value. The limiting values of the nondimensional circulation and energy are mostly independent of the cone geometry and translational velocity and fall within an interval of 10% around the mean value. The velocity of the vortex shows only 6% of variation and is the most unifying quantity that governs the formation of vortex rings behind cones.

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Unsteady flow separation in rotationally augmented flow fields plays a significant role in the aerodynamic performance of industrial rotors, including wind turbines. Current computational models underestimate the aerodynamic loads due to the inaccurate prediction of the emergence and severity of unsteady flow separation, especially in response to a sudden change in the effective angle of attack. Through the use of time-resolved particle image velocimetry (PIV), coherent structure formation during the unsteady separation over an experimental wind turbine blade is examined. Time-dependent empirical mode decomposition results during a dynamic pitching cycle give insight into the spatio-temporal scales that influence the transition from attached to separated flow. Empirical mode decomposition (EMD) modes are represented as two-dimensional fields and are analyzed together with Lagrangian coherent structures, the spatial distribution of vortices, the location of the separation point, and velocity contours focusing on the role of vortex shedding and shear-layer perturbation in unsteady flow separation, stall, and reattachment. The combination of these analytical techniques provides experimental evidence that the location of the separation point and the stability of the shear layer are directly influenced by the presence of vortices. Within this paper, each of the scales represented by the EMD are directly connected to the size of the vortices present, from the smallest representing a vortex radius to the largest reaching to two full vortex diameters. The velocity scales and spatial scales provided by the EMD modes are also found to supply valuable inputs into the identification of Lagrangian coherent structures within each of the PIV snapshots. This indicates that the scales captured by the EMD can be used to extract important turbulent scales present at the point of flow separation where the vortices are created, providing relenvant insight into the separation dynamics of the airfoil.

2019Vortex rings are very efficient at transporting fluid on long distances and can generate large forces, either thrust or drag. These abilities are influenced by the vorticity distribution within the vortex. Previous work on vortices produced by piston-cylinders showed that the vorticity distribution reaches a steady state when the vortex separates from the apparatus. First, we experimentally investigate the evolution of the vorticity distribution independently of the vortex separation. The vortices are created by impulsively accelerating cones immersed in water. In this configuration, the self-induced velocity of the vortex is directed towards the cone and there is no separation. Particle image velocimetry is carried on at Reynolds numbers around 30000. The vorticity distribution is quantified using the non-dimensional energy of the vortex, which is the energy with respect to the impulse and circulation. After three convective times, the volume of fluid recirculating within the vortex ring is filled with vortical fluid and the non-dimensional energy to a value around 0.3. The vorticity produced on the cone circumvents the vortex and a portion of the vortex volume is lost via tail-shedding. The translational velocity of the vortex ring linearly depends on its circulation and non-dimensional energy. This velocity, relative to the cone, also converges after three convective times and is found to be a more reliable scaling parameter than energy or circulation. It consistently reaches values around 0.9. In a second part, we present models to predict the vortex growth in the wake of disks and cones. Two models are developed. The first model reduces the vortex ring to a core of constant vorticity density. The translational velocity of the vortex is deduced and its trajectory integrated. The model accurately predicts the maximum circulation of the vortex. A second model, based on axisymmetric discrete vortex methods, predicts the growth, vorticity distribution and tail-shedding of the vortex. A third model is developed to explain why the non-dimensional energy consistently converges to values around 0.3. Based on the self similar roll-up of inviscid shear layers, a non-dimensional energy of 0.33 is computed for vortices formed by impulsively accelerated disks or pistons. The model also predicts that a linear acceleration profile leads to a more uniform vorticity distribution, decreasing the non-dimensional energy to 0.18. This result indicates that the vorticity distribution can be controlled by varying the velocity profile of the vortex generator. Another control option is to use permeable disks. We impulsively accelerated perforated disks and observed the vortex formation. A portion of the incoming flow bleeds through the disk and does not circulate around the disk edge, resulting in a lower vorticity maximum. The vortex ring has a more uniform vorticity distribution, as well as a more elongated shape. The non-dimensional energy is brought down to 0.14. Finally, vortex rings have a great potential to transport fluid on long distances, such as extinguishing powder. Their resilience to vortical perturbations is critical for the transport and depends on the vorticity distribution within the vortex. Simulations with nested contour methods are performed to assess that resilience. Vortices with lower non-dimensional energy shed less vortical volume when facing perturbations and qualify as better candidates for fluid transport.