Brücker, C. & Althaus, W. Experiments in Fluids (1992) 13: 339. doi:10.1007/BF00209508
Using a quasi three-dimensional instantaneous measurement technique, which combines particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) with volume scanning, first quantitative experimental results of the unsteady and asymmetric interior region of vortex breakdown were obtained. The study was carried out in a low speed flow through a cylindrical tube. A vortex was generated by a set of guidevanes and subjected to an adverse pressure gradient causing its breakdown. By scanning a pulsed illuminated planar laser light sheet, a set of meridional and azimuthal “cuts” of the flow was obtained. With PTV the recorded particle paths in the “cuts” were processed in order to obtain the instantaneous two-dimensional velocity field, mean streamlines and vorticity distribution. Moreover, the three-dimensional shape of the appearing breakdown, visualized with fluorescent dye, was reconstructed from the “cuts”. The results revealed that the shape of the bubble nearly equals the streamsurface of the stagnation point. According to the conditions in the water tunnel a single tilted vortex ring at the open rear part of the bubble dominates the interior flow structure of the bubble as first noted by Sarpkaya (1971). The vortical flow is bulged over the bubble, restored and intensified at the lower end. The gathered data lead to the conclusion that the vortex axis remains parallel to the centerline.