Organised large structure in the post-transition mixing layer. Part 1: Experimental evidence
journal contributionposted on 16.01.2015, 15:25 by Christopher M. Coats, A. D'Ovidio
New flow-visualization experiments on mixing layers of various velocity and density ratios are reported. It is shown that, in mixing layers developing from laminar initial conditions, the familiar mechanism of growth by vortex amalgamation is replaced at the mixing transition by a previously unrecognized mechanism in which the spanwise-coherent large structures individually undergo continuous linear growth. In the organized post-transition flow it is this continuous linear growth of the individual structures that produces the self-similar growth of the mixing-layer thickness, with the occasional interactions between neighbouring structures occurring as a consequence of their growth, not its cause. It is also observed that periods during which the post-transition mixing layer comprises orderly processions of large structures alternate with periods during which no large-scale organization is apparent downstream of the transition location. These two fully turbulent flow states are characterized by different growth rates, entrainment ratios and orientations of the mixing layer relative to the free streams. The implications of these findings are discussed.