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Laboratory Studies of Turbulent Mixing

Elsevier Ltd
DOI: 10.1016/b978-012374473-9.00616-0
  • Diffusion
  • Eddy Diffusivity
  • Entrainment
  • Mixing Efficiency
  • Stratification
  • Stratified Shear Flow
  • Turbulence
  • Physics


Laboratory measurements are required to determine the rates of turbulent dissipation within flows of stratified fluid. Rates based on other methods (theory, numerical approaches, and direct ocean measurements) require models based on assumptions that are suggested, but not thoroughly verified in the laboratory. Experiments have been conducted with many different devices. Results span a wide range of gradient or bulk Richardson number and more limited ranges of Reynolds number and Schmidt number, which are the three most relevant dimensionless numbers. Both layered and continuously stratified flows have been investigated, and velocity profiles include smooth ones, jets, and clusters of eddies from stirrers or grids. The dependence of dissipation through almost all ranges of Richardson number is extensively documented. The buoyancy flux ratio is the turbulent kinetic energy loss from raising the potential energy of the strata to loss of kinetic energy by viscous dissipation. It rises from zero at small Richardson number to values of about 0.1 at Richardson number equal to 1, and then falls off for greater values. At Richardson number greater than 1, a wide range of power laws spanning the range from −0.5 to −1.5 are found to fit data for different experiments. Considerable layering is found at larger values, which causes flux clustering and may explain both the relatively large scatter in the data as well as the wide range of proposed power laws.

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