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Interfacial Instabilities of Gravity Currents in the Presence of Surface Waves

Author(s): L. M. Stancanelli; R. E. Musumeci; E. Foti

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Abstract: The salt-brackish wedge propagation in the presence of regular surface waves is investigated by adopting a lock-exchange scheme. The aim is to investigate the dynamics of the fore front and of the instabilities at the interface. An experimental campaign has been carried out by considering different values of reduced gravity (range of g'0.04÷0.15 m/s 2) and different wave conditions (i.e. wave height range 1.5÷4.3 cm, wave period range 0.7÷1.3 s). Experimental data confirm that the presence of the waves significantly modifies the dynamics of the front density by inducing a reduction/increase of the average velocity of the front. The instabilities at the interface have been analyzed both experimentally and by means of CFD numerical simulations. In particular, thanks to the calibration with the experimental data, the numerical simulation is able to provide information on the turbulence formation and mixing process at the interface. Results confirm that in the presence of waves the mixing at the interface is importantly influenced by the particle displacement due to the oscillatory motion.

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Year: 2016

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