Complex dynamics of fluids


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Title Complex dynamics of fluids
Period 01 / 2000 - unknown
Status Completed
Research number OND1293739
Data Supplier Website J.M. Burgercentrum


Fluid flows in the environment or in industrial applications are almost always characterised by some form of complexity. Frequently it is this complexity that makes the flow an interesting topic of research. Below we will sketch several examples of such flows and flow phenomena which form research topics carried out in the various groups of the J.M. Burgers Centre.
The first form of complex dynamics which comes to mind is turbulence in contrast to a laminar flow. Here complexity appears in the form of strong non-linearity. Due to its chaotic behaviour turbulence can be considered as the archetype of a complex flow, and - being far from solved - turbulence will remain a strong focal point of research in the coming period. Turbulence research traditionally addresses the following questions:
- what are the physical processes and interactions governing turbulence,
- how can they be quantified and described mathematically,
- how to predict turbulence and turbulent flow for particular configurations, and
- how to control and manipulate turbulence?
Future research in this field in particular will focus on laminar-to-turbulent and reverse transition, effects of thermal buoyancy, unsteadiness, compressibility and rotation, and on the interaction with chemical reactions. The rol of turbulence in energy conversion processes and equipment are regarded as an intriguing field of applications.
Complexity may also appear in the form of a combined flow of various phases. When these phases are immiscible, phenomena such as free surface flows occur. These may appear in the form of various wave phenomena, for instance on an unobstructed water surface, but also in a confined geometry of a pipe.
Another type of such flow of immiscible phases is when one of the phases is distributed in the form of small particles, bubbles or droplets in the other continuous phase. Various combinations of phases may be selected and each has its own particular problems. This class of flows, generally denoted as dispersed multi-phase flow, at the moment forms a strong focal point of research within the J.M. Burgers Centre. The combination of phases that are miscible leads to other interesting problems such as mixing, and - depending on the fluids that take part in the mixing - chemical reactions or combustion.
Finally, complexity of the flow can also appear through its boundary conditions. For instance the flow geometry can strongly influence the flow characteristics by means of straining, shearing and distortion. An example is the wake behind a body in a shearing or straining flow. Furthermore, the exact formulation of boundary conditions can have a consequence for the type of flow characteristics that appear. An example is the free convection above a flat surface with a variable the conductivity. Geometry constraints on the flow are also dominant also when one considers a flow in 2D versus 3D. Here one should take as an example the quite different characteristics of 2D turbulence versus 3D-turbulence.
An increasingly important JMBC research activity within Theme 1 is aero-acoustics, aimed at the identification and quantification of acoustic sound sources in internal and external flows. Such sources can be related to unsteady vortex shedding, turbulence, combustion and flow-structure interaction. In general there is a strongly non-linear mutual interaction between sound source and acoustic field. The applications and technical implications show a great diversity. The JMBC is actively involved in vortex sounds in ducts, musical instruments (like the flute and the organ pipe), human speech, acoustics in burner stabilized flames, sound generation by turbulent flames, with much attention to analytical and numerical modelling of these flows.
The flow cases mentioned above, which are by no means an exhaustive list of complex fluid flow phenomena, form research topics in the various groups in the J.M. Burgers Centre.
The tools to carry out this research are primarily numerical and experimental. The numerical techniques used to compute flow phenomena are direct and large eddy numerical simulation, turbulence modelling and computational fluid dynamics. The experimental techniques used nowadays are mostly based on various forms of laser diagnostics (e.g. like PIV and PTV for flow measurements and CARS, LIF and Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy for temperatures and concentrations). Experiments, simulations and analytical theories in the field of fluid flow analysis complement each other - perhaps more than in other branches of physics. Future research will inevitably make use and take advantage of combined techniques and their complementing roles. Both the research topics themselves and the research techniques to carry out these investigations, form the basis of a strong collaboration within the J.M. Burgers Centre.

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Project leader G. Ooms

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