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Experimental evidence for the boundary zonal flow in rotating Rayleigh–Bénard convection

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We report on the presence of the boundary zonal flow in rotating Rayleigh–Bénard convection evidenced by two-dimensional particle image velocimetry . Experiments were conducted in a cylindrical cell of aspect ratio $\varGamma =D/H=1$ between its diameter ( $D$ ) and height ( $H$ ). As the working fluid, we used various mixtures of water and glycerol, leading to Prandtl numbers in the range $6.6 \lesssim \textit {Pr} \lesssim 76$ . The horizontal velocity components were measured at a horizontal cross-section at half height. The Rayleigh numbers were in the range $10^8 \leq \textit {Ra} \leq 3\times 10^9$ . The effect of rotation is quantified by the Ekman number, which was in the range $1.5\times 10^{-5}\leq \textit {Ek} \leq 1.2\times 10^{-3}$ in our experiment. With our results we show the first direct measurements of the boundary zonal flow (BZF) that develops near the sidewall and was discovered recently in numerical simulations as well as in sparse and localized temperature measurements. We analyse the thickness $\delta _0$ of the BZF as well as its maximal velocity as a function of Pr , Ra and Ek , and compare these results with previous results from direct numerical simulations.

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We report experimental measurements of turbulent heat transport in rotating Rayleigh-B{acute e}nard convection. The fluid was water with Prandtl number 3>Ï>7 . Heat transport and local temperature measurements were made for Rayleigh numbers 2Ã10⁵>Ra>5Ã10⁸ and Taylor numbers 0â¤Taâ¤5Ã10⁹ . For fixed convective Rossby numbers Ro between 0.1 and 1.5, the Nusselt number N scaled closely as the 2/7 power of Ra but had very little variation with the Prandtl number Ï and only a moderate increase with increasing rotation rate. Substantial disagreement is found with existing scaling theories. {copyright} {ital 1997} {ital The American Physical Society}
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The onset of steady natural convection in a rotating cylindrical volume of the fluid completely bounded by rigid surfaces is examined for moderate Taylor numbers (up to 2,000,000) and aspect ratios of 2 or less. The critical Rayleigh number for three dimensional disturbances is found to be lower than that for the radially unbounded problem by up to a factor of six. The thermal boundary condition on the lateral walls is shown to have a greater effect here than in the nonrotating case.
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Asymptotic expressions for the onset of convection in a horizontal fluid layer of finite extent heated from below and rotating about a vertical axis are derived in the limit of large rotation rates in the case of stress-free upper and lower boundaries. In the presence of vertical sidewalls, the critical Rayleigh number Rc is much lower than the classical value for an infinitely extended layer. In particular, we find that Rc grows in proportion to τ when the sidewall is insulating, where τ is the dimensionless rotation rate. When the sidewall is infinitely conducting, Rc grows in proportion to $\tau^{\frac{4}{3}}$ as in the case of an infinitely extended layer but with a lower coefficient of proportionality. Numerical results obtained at finite values of τ show good agreement with the asymptotic formulae.
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The dynamical properties of a fluid, occupying the space between two concentric rotating spheres, are considered, attention being focused on the case where the angular velocities of the spheres are only slightly different and the Reynolds number R of the flow is large. It is found that the flow properties differ inside and outside a cylinder [script C], circumscribing the inner sphere and having its generators parallel to the axis of rotation. Outside [script C] the fluid rotates as if rigid with the angular velocity of the outer sphere. Inside [script C] the fluid rotates with an angular velocity intermediate to the angular velocities of the two spheres and determined by the condition that the flux of fluid into the boundary layer of the faster-rotating sphere is equal to the flux out of the boundary layer of the slower-rotating sphere at the same distance from the axis. The return of fluid is effected by a shear layer near [script C] and we show that it has a complicated structure for it can be divided into three separate layers, two outer ones, of thickness $\sim R^{-\frac{2}{7}}$ and [similar]R−¼, and an inner layer of thickness $\sim R^{-\frac{1}{3}}$.
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We present optical shadowgraph flow visualization and heat transport measurements of Rayleigh–Bénard convection with rotation about a vertical axis. The fluid, water with Prandtl number 6.4, is confined in a cylindrical convection cell with radius-to-height ratio Γ = 1. For dimensionless rotation rates 150 < Ω < 8800, the onset of convection occurs at critical Rayleigh numbers Rc(Ω) much less than those predicted by linear stability analysis for a laterally infinite system and qualitatively consistent with finite-aspect-ratio, linear-stability calculations of Buell & Catton (1983). As in the calculations, the forward bifurcation at onset is to states of localized flow near the lateral walls with azimuthal periodicity of 3 < m < 8. These states precess in the rotating frame, contrary to the assumptions of Buell & Catton (1983) but in quantitative agreement with recent calculations of Goldstein et al. (1992), with a frequency that is finite at onset but goes to zero as Ω goes to zero. At Ω = 2145 we find primary and secondary stability boundaries for states with m = 4, 5, 6, and 7. Further, we show that at higher Rayleigh number, there is a transition to a vortex state where the vortices form with the symmetry of the existing azimuthal periodicity of the sidewall state. Aperiodic, time-dependent heat transport begins for Rayleigh numbers at or slightly above the first appearance of vortices. Visualization of the formation and interactions of thermal vortices is presented, and the behaviour of the Nusselt number at high Rayleigh numbers is discussed.
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An experimental study of the response of a thin uniformly heated rotating layer of fluid is presented. It is shown that the stability of the fluid depends strongly upon the three parameters that described its state, namely the Rayleigh number, the Taylor number and the Prandtl number. For the two Prandtl numbers considered, 6·8 and 0·025 corresponding to water and mercury, linear theory is insufficient to fully describe their stability properties. For water, subcritical instability will occur for all Taylor numbers greater than 5 × 10 ⁴ , whereas mercury exhibits a subcritical instability only for finite Taylor numbers less than 10 ⁵ . At all other Taylor numbers there is good agreement between linear theory and experiment. The heat flux in these two fluids has been measured over a wide range of Rayleigh and Taylor numbers. Generally, much higher Nusselt numbers are found with water than with mercury. In water, at any Rayleigh number greater than 10 ⁴ , it is found that the Nusselt number will increase by about 10% as the Taylor number is increased from zero to a certain value, which depends on the Rayleigh number. It is suggested that this increase in the heat flux results from a perturbation of the velocity boundary layer with an ‘Ekman-layer-like’ profile in such a way that the scale of boundary layer is reduced. In mercury, on the other hand, the heat flux decreases monotonically with increasing Taylor number. Over a range of Rayleigh numbers (at large Taylor numbers) oscillatory convection is preferred although it is inefficient at transporting heat. Above a certain Rayleigh number, less than the critical value for steady convection according to linear theory, the heat flux increases more rapidly and the convection becomes increasingly irregular as is shown by the temperature fluctuations at a point in the fluid. Photographs of the convective flow in a silicone oil (Prandtl number = 100) at various rotation rates are shown. From these a rough estimate is obtained of the dominant horizontal convective scale as a function of the Rayleigh and Taylor numbers.
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Convective instabilities in a fluid-filled circular cylinder heated from below and rotating about its vertical axis are investigated both analytically and numerically under experimental boundary conditions. It is found that there exist two different forms of convective instabilities: convection-driven inertial waves for small and moderate Prandtl numbers and wall-localized travelling waves for large Prandtl numbers. Asymptotic solutions for both forms of convection are derived and numerical simulations for the same problem are also performed, showing a satisfactory quantitative agreement between the asymptotic and numerical analyses.
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