Radial Source-Sink Flow in Stratified Ocean

by Gerhard H. Jirka, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; School of Civ. and Environmental Engrg., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y. 14853,
Frank E. Sargent, Research Asst.; School of Civ. and Environmental Engrg., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y. 14853,
R. Peter Johnson, Engr.; Arctec Inc., Columbia, Md. 21045,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 12, Pg. 1631-1650

Document Type: Journal Paper


Proposed ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) plants represent large sources of momentum discharging into the stratifies tropical ocean. The mixing characteristics induced by such sources in combination with simultaneous sink flows into the plant intake are considered under the assumption of a discretely stratified ocean with radial symmetry about the OTEC plant. The problem is formulated with radial jet integral equations which account for the loss of jet momentum and for the pressure gradient, both arising from the sink flow action, and for buoyant damping of vertical entrainment. For extreme shallow upper layer conditions or for large momentum sources, the source-sink flow is predicted to break down into a recirculating eddy giving rise to undesirable temperature reductions of the OTEC plant intake. The model predictions are verified in laboratory experiments which have a somewhat different geometry but a similar dynamic interaction. Design considerations and estimates of maximum OTEC plant sizes are given.

Subject Headings: Ocean engineering | Stratified flow | Thermal pollution | Thermal power | Radial flow | Radiation | Energy conversion | Power plants

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