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Dynamics of a reactive spherical particle falling in a linearly stratified fluid

Abstract : Motivated by numerous geophysical applications, we have carried out laboratory experiments of a reactive (i.e., melting) solid sphere freely falling by gravity in a stratified environment, in the regime of large Reynolds (Re) and Froude numbers. We compare our results to nonreactive spheres in the same regime. First, we confirm, for larger values of Re, the stratification drag enhancement previously observed for low and moderate Re. We also show an even more significant drag enhancement due to melting, much larger than the stratification-induced one. We argue that the mechanism for both enhancements is similar, due to the specific structure of the vorticity field sets by buoyancy effects and associated baroclinic torques, as deciphered for stratification by Zhang et al. [J. Fluid Mech. 875, 622 (2019) ]. Using particle image velocimetry, we then characterize the long-term evolution (at time t≫1/N, with N the Brünt-Väisälä frequency) of the internal wave field generated by the wake of the spheres. The measured wave field is similar for both the reactive and inert spheres: indeed, each sphere fall might be considered as a quasi-impulsive source of energy in time and the horizontal direction, as the falling time (the sphere radius) is much smaller than N (than the tank width). Internal gravity waves are generated by wake turbulence over a broad spectrum, with the least damped component being at the Brünt-Väisälä frequency and the largest admissible horizontal wavelength. About 1% of the initial potential energy of each sphere is converted into kinetic energy in the internal waves, with no significant dependence on the Froude number over the explored range.
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Contributor : Julien Caugant <>
Submitted on : Friday, November 27, 2020 - 11:59:53 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 28, 2020 - 3:29:25 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-03027721, version 1



Ludovic Huguet, Victor Barge-Zwick, Michael Le Bars. Dynamics of a reactive spherical particle falling in a linearly stratified fluid. Physical Review Fluids, American Physical Society, 2020, 5 (11), pp.114803. ⟨hal-03027721⟩



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