, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 104-111
Date: 16 Nov 2005

Dye-bubble interactions in an open channel flow

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An innovative technique has been developed to visualize the effect that a localized surface reaction has in an open channel flow field. The working fluid is hexanoic acid mixed with mineral oil, and it flows over an aluminum plate embedded with sodium metal. Hexanoic acid and sodium metal react to form hydrogen gas and hexanoic salt. The hydrogen gas forms bubbles that rise to the surface and are convected downstream by the fluid. The rising bubbles induce the formation of counter-rotating vortices that straddle the reaction site. Bubble entrainment stretches and bends the dye filaments, and buoyancy transports the bubbles away from the reaction. The products of the reaction introduce velocity fluctuations into an otherwise laminar flow, inducing what has been described by some researchers as pseudoturbulence. Downstream of the reaction, far away from the disturbances caused by the buoyant bubbles, the velocity fluctuations dampen out and the flow relaminarizes.