Experiments on Stratified Flows: A Comparison with Theory

by John P. Grubert, Polytechnic of Wales, Pontypridd, United Kingdom,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Stratified flows caused by salt wedges in estuaries, fjord flows and power station cooling waters represent very complicated flow situations with regard to their stability and rates of interfacial mixing. Since the stability and mixing of these flows is strongly influenced by frictional as well as gravitational forces, theoretical analysis alone can give erroneous results. One effect of frictional forces in a stratified flow is to regulate the thickness of the interfacial layer, which in turn influences both the stability and rates of interfacial mixing. However, the thickness of this interfacial layer is ill-defined, and therefore open to interpretation. Experimental measurements of density profiles need to be used to determine which definition of thickness corresponds to both experimental observation and theoretical predictions of stability.

Subject Headings: Water flow | Thickness | Stratified flow | Comparative studies | Salt water | Power plants | Friction | Flow measurement

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