Experiments in Fluids

, 47:801 | Cite as

Experiments on the spreading of shear-free turbulence under the influence of confinement and rotation

  • Matthias KinzelEmail author
  • Markus Holzner
  • Beat Lüthi
  • Cameron Tropea
  • Wolfgang Kinzelbach
  • Martin Oberlack
Research Article


From Lie-group (symmetry) analysis of the multi-point correlation equation Oberlack and Günther (Fluid Dyn Res 33:453–476, 2003) found three different solutions for the behavior of shear-free turbulence: (i) a diffusion like solution, in which turbulence diffuses freely into the adjacent calm fluid, (ii) a deceleration wave like solution when there is an upper bound for the integral length scale and (iii) a finite domain solution for the case when rotation is applied to the system. This paper deals with the experimental validation of the theory. We use an oscillating grid to generate turbulence in a water tank and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) to determine the two-dimensional velocity and out-of-plane vorticity components. The whole setup is placed on a rotating table. After the forcing is initiated, a turbulent layer develops which is separated from the initially irrotational fluid by a sharp interface, the so-called turbulent/non-turbulent interface (TNTI). The turbulent region grows in time through entrainment of surrounding fluid. We measure the propagation of the TNTI and find quantitative agreement with the predicted spreading laws for case one and two. For case three (system rotation), we observe that there is a sharp transition between a 3D turbulent flow close to the source of energy and a more 2D-like wavy flow further away. We measure that the separation depth becomes constant and in this sense, we confirm the theoretical finite domain solution.


Vorticity Particle Image Velocimetry Turbulent Kinetic Energy Particle Image Velocimetry Measurement Integral Length Scale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The financial support by the German Research Foundation (DFG) is gratefully acknowledged. Furthermore, the authors would like to thank K. W. Hoyer for his contributions to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthias Kinzel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Markus Holzner
    • 2
  • Beat Lüthi
    • 2
  • Cameron Tropea
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Kinzelbach
    • 2
  • Martin Oberlack
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics (SLA)Technische Universitaet of DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental Engineering (IfU)Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Fluid Dynamics (FDY)Technische Universitaet of DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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