Experimental and Numerical Study of Molecular Mixing Dynamics in Rayleigh- Taylor Unstable Flows
Mueschke, Nicholas J.
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Experiments and simulations were performed to examine the complex processes that occur in Rayleigh?Taylor driven mixing. A water channel facility was used to examine a buoyancy-driven Rayleigh?Taylor mixing layer. Measurements of ?uctuating den- sity statistics and the molecular mixing parameter were made for Pr = 7 (hot/cold water) and Sc 103 (salt/fresh water) cases. For the hot/cold water case, a high- resolution thermocouple was used to measure instantaneous temperature values that were related to the density ?eld via an equation of state. For the Sc 103 case, the degree of molecular mixing was measured by monitoring a di?usion-limited chemical reaction between the two ?uid streams. The degree of molecular mixing was quanti- ?ed by developing a new mathematical relationship between the amount of chemical product formed and the density variance 02. Comparisons between the Sc = 7 and Sc 103 cases are used to elucidate the dependence of on the Schmidt number. To further examine the turbulent mixing processes, a direct numerical simu- lation (DNS) model of the Sc = 7 water channel experiment was constructed to provide statistics that could not be experimentally measured. To determine the key physical mechanisms that in?uence the growth of turbulent Rayleigh?Taylor mixing layers, the budgets of the exact mean mass fraction em1, turbulent kinetic energy fE00, turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate e 00, mass fraction variance gm002 1 , and mass fraction variance dissipation rate f 00 equations were examined. The budgets of the unclosed turbulent transport equations were used to quantitatively assess the relative magnitudes of di?erent production, dissipation, transport, and mixing processes. Finally, three-equation (fE00-e 00-gm002 1 ) and four-equation (fE00-e 00-gm002 1 -f 00) turbulent mixing models were developed and calibrated to predict the degree of molecular mix- ing within a Rayleigh?Taylor mixing layer. The DNS data sets were used to assess the validity of and calibrate the turbulent viscosity, gradient-di?usion, and scale- similarity closures a priori. The modeled transport equations were implemented in a one-dimensional numerical simulation code and were shown to accurately reproduce the experimental and DNS results a posteriori. The calibrated model parameters from the Sc = 7 case were used as the starting point for determining the appropri- ate model constants for the mass fraction variance gm002 1 transport equation for the Sc 103 case.