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Publication# Evolution of the vorticity distribution in vortex rings

Abstract

Vortex 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.

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In fluid dynamics, a vortex (: vortices or vortexes) is a region in a fluid in which the flow revolves around an axis line, which may be straight or curved. Vortices form in stirred fluids, and may

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The presence of aerodynamic vortices is widespread in nature. They can be found at small scales near the wing tip of flying insects or at bigger scale in the form of hurricanes, cyclones or even galaxies. They are identified as coherent regions of high vorticity where the flow is locally dominated by rotation over strain. A better comprehension of vortex dynamics has a great potential to increase aerodynamic performances of moving vehicles, such as drones or autonomous underwater vehicles. An accelerated flat plate, a pitching airfoil or a jet flow ejected from a nozzle give rise to the formation of a primary vortex, followed by the shedding of smaller secondary vortices. We experimentally study the growth, timing and trajectory of primary and secondary vortices generated from a rectangular flat plate that is rotated around its centre location in a quiescent fluid. We systematically vary the rotational speed of the plate to get a chord based Reynolds number \Rey that ranges from 800 to 12000. We identify the critical \Rey for the occurrence of secondary vortices to be at 2500. The timing of the formation of the primary vortex is \Rey independent but is affected by the plate's dimensions. The circulation of the primary vortex increases with the angular position $\alpha$ of the plate, until the plate reaches 30°. Increasing the thickness and decreasing the chord lead to a longer growth of the primary vortex. Therefore, the primary vortex reaches a higher dimensionless limit strength. We define a new dimensionless time $T^*$ based on the thickness of the plate to scale the age of the primary vortex. The primary vortex stops growing when $T^* \approx 10$, regardless of the dimensions of the plate. We consider this value to be the vortex formation number of the primary vortex generated from a rotating rectangular flat plate in a Reynolds number range that goes from 800 to 12000. When $\alpha$ > 30°, the circulation released in the flow is entrained into secondary vortices for $\Rey > 2500$. The circulation of all secondary vortices is approximately 4 to 5 times smaller than the circulation of the primary vortex. We present a modified version of the Kaden spiral that accurately predicts the shear layer evolution and the trajectory of primary and secondary vortices during the entire rotation of the plate.We model the timing dynamics of secondary vortices with a power law equation that depends on two distinct parameter: $\chi$ and $\alpha_{0}$.The parameter $\chi$ indicates the relative increase in the time interval between the release of successive secondary vortices.The parameter $\alpha_{0}$ indicates the angular position at which the primary vortex stops growing and pinches-off from the plate.We also observe that the total circulation released in the flow is proportional to $\alpha^{1/3}$, as predicted by the inviscid theory.The combination of the power law equation with the total circulation computed from inviscid theory predict the strength of primary and secondary vortices, based purely on the plate's geometry and kinematics.The strength prediction is confirmed by experimental measurements.In this thesis we provided a valuable insight into the growth, timing and trajectory of primary and secondary vortices generated by a rotating flat plate. Future work should be directed towards more complex object geometries and kinematics, to confirm the validity of the modified Kaden spiral and explore the influence on the formation number.

Centrifugal pumps are required to sustain a stable operation of the system they support under all operating conditions. Minor modifications of the surfaces defining the pump's water passage can influence the tendency to unstable system operation significantly. The action of such modifications on the flow are yet not fully understood, leading to costly trial and error approaches in the solution of instability problems. The part-load flow in centrifugal pumps is inherently time-dependent due to the interaction of the rotating impeller with the stationary diffuser (Rotor-Stator Interaction, RSI). Furthermore, adverse pressure gradients in the pump diffuser may cause flow separation, potentially inducing symmetry-breaking non-uniformities, either spatially stationary or rotating and either steady or intermittent. Rotating stall, characterized by the presence of distinct cells of flow separation on the circumference, rotating at a fraction of the impeller revolution rate, has been observed in thermal and hydraulic turbomachines. Due to its complexity, the part-load flow in radial centrifugal pumps is a major challenge for numerical flow simulation methods. The present study investigates the part-load flow in radial centrifugal pumps and pump-turbines by experimental and numerical methods, the latter using a finite volume discretization of the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equation. Physical phenomena of part load flow are evidenced based on three case studies, and the ability of numerical simulation methods to reproduce part-load flow in radial centrifugal pumps qualitatively and quantitatively is assessed. A numerical study of the flow in a high specific speed radial pump-turbine using steady approaches and the hypothesis of angular periodicity between neighboring blade channels evidences the relation of sudden flow topology changes with an increase of viscous losses, impacting on the energy-discharge characteristic, and thus increasing the risk of unstable operation. When the flow rate drops below a critical threshold, the straight through-flow with flow separation zones attached to the guide vanes changes to an asymmetrical flow. Energy is drawn off the mean flow and dissipated in a large vortex-like structure. Besides flow separation in some diffuser channels, time-dependent numerical simulations of the flow in a double suction pump evidence a flow rate imbalance between both impeller sides interacting with asymmetric flow separation in the diffuser. Viscous losses increase substantially as this imbalance occurs, the resulting segment of positive slope in the energy-discharge characteristic is found for a flow rate sensibly different from measurements. Different modes of rotating stall are identified by transient pressure measurements in a low-specific-speed pump-turbine, showing 3 to 5 zones of separated flow, rotating at 0.016 to 0.028 times impeller rotation rate, depending on discharge. For operating conditions where stall with 4 cells is most pronounced, velocity is measured by Laser-Doppler methods at locations of interest. The velocity field is reconstructed with respect to the passage of stall cells by definition of a stall phase obtained from simultaneous transient pressure measurements. Time-dependent numerical simulation predicting rotating stall with 4 cells shows velocity fields that are in reasonable agreement with the measured velocity fields, but occurring at a sensibly higher flow rate than found from experiments. In consideration of the quantitative shortcomings of the numerical simulation, a novel modelling approach is proposed: Replacing the costly 3-dimensional simulation of the major part of the impeller channels by a 1-dimensional model allows a significant economy in computational resources, allowing an improved modeling for the remainder of the domain at constant computational cost. The model is validated with the challenging cases of rotating stall and impeller side flow rate imbalance. The satisfying coherence of the results with the simulation including the entire impeller channels qualifies this approach for numerous turbomachinery applications. It could also provide improved, time-dependent boundary conditions for draft tube vortex rope simulations at reasonable computational cost. Parameter studies modifying deliberately some quantities of mean flow and turbulence at the modeled boundary surfaces can be implemented in the framework of the method.

River and open-channel flows are free surface boundary layer flows with complex 3D, large-scale, turbulent structures. The study of 2D and 3D large-scale turbulent flow structures is a great challenge for physicists, mathematicians and engineers from such different domains as civil, environmental and mechanic engineering. Different processes can generate 3D, large-scale, turbulent structures which occur at the same time. On the one hand, large scale vortical structures such as secondary currents of Prandtl's second kind play an important role in the understanding of 3D turbulent structures in straight channels and rivers. Secondary currents affect bottom shear stress and longitudinal mean velocity, and contribute to sediment transport and air-water gas exchange by creating upwelling and downwelling motion in the water column. At the free surface, such upwelling and downwelling motion is an important mechanism for the air-water gas exchange and is considered to be responsible for surface boils. On the other hand, experimental work in turbulent boundary layers revealed the existence of bursting resulting in hairpin shaped structures which are responsible for the link between the inner and the outer layer. The interaction between these two layers in turbulent boundary layers is considered in terms of the dynamics of momentum, energy, and Reynolds shear stress transport. In order to advance in the understanding of this fundamental problem in turbulent open-channel flow, recently developed measurement and observation techniques are used in this Ph.D study. A non-intrusive Acoustic Doppler Velocity Profiler (ADVP), Surface Large Scale Particle Image Velocimetry (LSPIV) and a hot-film probe were combined in the investigation of coherent structures, secondary currents, surface boils and their interaction in turbulent rough-bed open-channel flow. The ADVP permits to measure 3D quasi-instantaneous velocity profiles in the entire water depth and to investigate the mean field and the fluctuating field of all three velocity components. The LSPIV system, developed at the LHE, allows visualizing the water surface and obtaining the surface velocity information in relation to instantaneous surface vortical structures. Bottom shear stress was measured with a sensor based on the hot film principle. The instruments provided the mean and instantaneous velocity field in the entire water depth and at the free surface. Six sets of experiments were carried out in turbulent rough bed open-channel for three different width-to-depth ratios (12.25, 15 and 20) at high, moderate and low Reynolds numbers. The results of the ADVP measurements show mean longitudinal velocity patterns undulating across the channel which indicate patterns of secondary currents in the mean flow structure. Upwelling regions can be identified by lower relative mean longitudinal velocities close to the free surface, and downwelling regions can be identified by higher relative mean longitudinal velocities. It is observed that the existence of secondary currents affects the distribution of bed shear stress and Reynolds stress across the channel. Bed shear stress show a cross-channel undulation pattern with bed shear stress in downwelling areas being higher than in upwelling areas. The Reynolds shear stress distribution in the water column has revealed the same undulating pattern. The number of secondary flow cells is determined by the aspect ratio and relative roughness. It is found that the bottom roughness elements of the channel bed make these longitudinal cells stable. The Reynolds number does not affect the spanwise position of the upwelling and downwelling regions of the secondary cells, but it does affect and slightly increase the normalized Reynolds shear stress. Secondary currents with cells whose dimensions are equal to the flow depth are the most stable and dominant pattern. Changes in the vorticity pattern causes changes in turbulence characteristics in upwelling and downwelling regions. Our study and existing investigations demonstrated that one of the most probable mechanisms for the initiation of multi cellular secondary currents is the mutual interaction between the rough bed and the pre-existing secondary currents near the side wall. The occurrence of small and large scale coherent structures, such as hairpin packets, and their relation to secondary currents are investigated through a quantitative analysis of instantaneous flow fields over the entire turbulent boundary layer across the channel. Uniform momentum zones are clearly detected in the instantaneous velocity fields in the longitudinal direction. In the logarithmic layer, the coherent vortex packets originating from the wall layer frequently occur within larger moving zones of uniform momentum, and extend up to the middle of the boundary layer. Good results in terms of dimension and position of large coherent structures relating to zones of uniform streamwise momentum support the concept of a dynamic link of hairpin packets and zonal organization in the outer layer. Secondary currents are large-scale streamwise vortical structures that affect the organization of coherent structures in the outer layer. More hairpin vortex packets could be carried by upwelling, with positive vertical velocity increasing the height of Zone 2. In the downwelling region, the height of Zone 2 and the growth angle of the hairpin packets decrease compared to the upwelling region, because of the negative vertical mean velocity of the secondary currents. This may prevent hairpin vortex packets from reaching the free surface due to the higher gradient of the longitudinal velocity. A quadrant analysis in the upwelling and downwelling regions revealed that in the wall region of downwelling areas, sweep events are dominant, and in the region close to the free surface, ejection events dominate over sweep events. The dominance of ejection events at the free surface explains the occurrence of a large number of surface boils observed in the upwelling regions. The measurements have shown that secondary currents and coherent structures are correlated, thus producing 3D flow structures. The results from LSPIV show a mean multi-cellular pattern of faster and slower primary longitudinal surface velocities. Streaks of faster longitudinal velocity are found in downwelling areas. Upwelling areas are identified with lower velocities. In addition, we observed mean transversal surface currents between upwelling and downwelling zones. We have shown that near the surface, ejections which are part of the large scale burst cycle are more common in upwelling zones between secondary current cells. Measurements reveal that these vortex boils mainly occur in upwelling areas with high vorticity, whereas downwelling areas show lower vorticity. Up- and downwelling zones, as well as surface boils are observed at all Reynolds numbers and aspect ratios. Therefore, they can be considered important processes in river dynamics and affect transport between the surface and the pelagic zone. Based on the combined results from LSPIV, ADVP and hot-film data, this study experimentally demonstrated that secondary currents, surface boils and coherent structures are correlated and produce 3D flow structures. The effect of secondary currents on tracer distribution in open-channel and river flow is to disperse and mix tracers in three dimensions more rapidly than would be the case if turbulent diffusion were acting alone. This has important consequences for pollutant spreading. Together with surface boil vortices, these currents contribute to surface renewal and gas transfer. In downwelling zones, the water masses moved along the surface by the transversal currents are transported downwards faster than by turbulent mixing. Again, the dispersion and mixing due to secondary currents discussed above will then provide for rapid 3D distribution in the entire water column. This thesis is a contribution to understanding of the transport and mixing dynamics in open-channel flow with an emphasis on the effects of coherent structures, secondary currents and surface boils, as well as the interaction between them. The information which was obtained advances the understanding of fine and large scale dynamics in open-channel flow. At the same time it contributes to the improvement of algorithms in numerical predictive water quality models, which in turn improve effective water resources management.