An Alternate Theory of Density Current Propagation

by Steven J. Wright, Univ of Michigan, United States,
Younghan Kim, Univ of Michigan, United States,
Johannes Bühler, Univ of Michigan, United States,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Hydraulic Engineering

Abstract: Density current propagation has been previously analyzed by employing a one-dimensional momentum balance in a frame of reference moving with the density current head. Experimental data indicate that density currents propagate more slowly than predicted by the theory and that thicknesses in excess of theoretical limits may be attained. An alternate theory for density current propagation which resolves these inconsistencies is proposed. One of the most important differences from previous theories is that the speed of propagation cannot be described solely in the frame of reference moving with the density current head. An experimental investigation was performed with density currents discharged into a variety of co-flowing and counter-flowing ambient fluids and the experimental results are shown to be consistent with the present analysis.

Subject Headings: Density currents | Fluid flow | Head (fluid mechanics) | Frames | Flow measurement | Dimensional analysis | Thickness

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