Strong free-surface turbulence in breaking bores: A physical study on the free-surface dynamics and air-water interfacial features

Davide Wüthrich, Rui Shi, Hubert Chanson

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Abstract

Highly turbulent free-surface flows are characterised by complex and rapidly varying air-water surface features, leading to enhanced surface roughness, breakup and disintegration processes. Such a strong free-surface turbulence has an impact on a number of environmental flows, and a deeper understanding of its physical nature is fundamental. Unsteady breaking bores are of particular interest because of their recirculating motion, with large air entrainment and splashes, resulting in highly fluctuating and rapidly varying free-surface flows. Herein, new methodologies and innovative approaches are used in support of a deeper understanding of the physical processes within a breaking roller, inclusive of a comprehensive assessment of its free-surface dynamics. Because of the unsteadiness of the flow, multiple repetitions were necessary and all results were based upon an ensemble statistical analysis. Ultra-high-speed videos recorded from both top and side views allowed for a detailed characterisation of the roller's free surface, providing a description and classification of the most recurring air-water surface features. A quantification of their main properties in terms of geometry, duration and frequency of appearance revealed an evolution of these features during their lifespans. In parallel, the use of optical flow techniques provided a characterisation of the surface velocity fields, yielding information on the free-surface kinematic properties and revealing a strong link between air-water surface features, energy dissipation and time/length scales.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA20
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume924
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • hydraulics
  • multiphase flow
  • wave breaking

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