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Long-lasting effect of initial configuration in gravitational spreading of material fronts


We present the results from laboratory experiments and fully resolved simulations pertaining to finite-release turbulent density flows with a non-axisymmetric initial shape. First, we demonstrate that the effects of the initial shape influence the current’s evolution well into the long-time phase which would corresponds to the inertial self-similar phase in the case of planar or axisymmetric configurations. Then, we identify the physical mechanisms responsible for this dependence and propose a new model capable of capturing the dynamics of such releases. Finally, we show that this dependence on the initial configuration is robust for various types of gravity currents over a wide range of parameters such as Reynolds number, density ratio, and aspect ratio.

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Correspondence to Thomas Bonometti.

Additional information

Communicated by Tim Colonius.

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Zgheib, N., Bonometti, T. & Balachandar, S. Long-lasting effect of initial configuration in gravitational spreading of material fronts. Theor. Comput. Fluid Dyn. 28, 521–529 (2014).

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  • Density currents
  • Gravity currents
  • Buoyancy-driven flows
  • Box model
  • Spectral methods