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A chemically reacting, turbulent shear layer

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  • Chemistry


A chemically reacting turbulent shear layer was investigated in a new, blow-down water tunnel. In a diffusion-limited reaction, a pH indicator, phenolphthalein, in one stream mixed and reacted with a base, sodium hydroxide, in the other stream to form a visible reaction product. Using optical densitometry techniques, the amount of product was measured as a function of Reynolds number, at a relatively high Schmidt number of approximately 600. The results were compared with both the previous mixing measurements of Konrad in a gaseous shear layer (Sc = 0.7) and the simple mixing model of Broadwell. The product was found to be distributed, as expected, in concentrated lumps associated with the large, spanwise-coherent structures of the turbulence. The time averaged amount of product in the layer exhibited a rapid transition at a large-structure Reynolds number of about 5 x 10(3) for a velocity ratio of 0.38. Above the transition, the amount of product within the layer was independent of Reynolds number. This transition is related to the introduction of small scale, three-dimensional motions into the layer. In the initial region, where the flow was already unsteady and contained large structures but was strictly two-dimensional, very little mixing was observed. Downstream the flow became unstable to three-dimensional perturbations and small scale, three-dimensional motions were introduced into the layer. Across this transition, the aqueous mixing increased by an order of magnitude, indicating the sensitivity of mixing to small scales of the turbulence in a high Schmidt number fluid. At high Reynolds numbers, changing the Schmidt number by three orders of magnitude only altered the molecular mixing by about a factor of two or less. The mixing model of Broadwell, which addresses the effect of Schmidt number, is in satisfactory qualitative agreement with the observations. The unique flow visualization of the visible reaction product in water permitted a study of the three-dimensional instability and evolution of small scale motions in the layer. Streamwise streaks which had been previously observed in the Brown-Roshko gas apparatus were found to originate from a spanwise-sinuous wiggle which appeared at a large-structure Reynolds number which varied with velocity ratio, indicating an influence of initial conditions on the instability.

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