UBC Theses and Dissertations
Statistics and dynamics of coherent structures on turbulent grid-flow Loewen, Stuart Reid
This thesis examines the statistics and dynamics of turbulent flow structures generated by towing a grid through a tank of water. The structures were made visible by recording the paths of aluminum tracers moving with the water surface. Flow patterns recorded using a time-exposure method were manually analyzed to extract information on the structure statistics. This two-dimensional flow field was found to be composed of closed rotating 'surface eddies', open and largely translational 'river' motion and stagnant regions. Energy distributions of the eddies and rivers were obtained and characterized by Boltzmann type distributions. A newly developed computer-automated structure identification and flow field analysis system was used to study the structure dynamics. The system analyzes digital images obtained from video recordings of the tracer motion. The predominant evolution processes of initial vortex production, eddy pairing, viscous decay and the omega decay were examined. Flow Reynolds numbers, based on bar spacing, of about 10,000 were examined. The structure statistics and dynamics study was performed in order to examine the validity and viability of a new model for turbulence. The model predicts the evolution of a population of structures using rate equations where the rate coefficients are determined by the individual structure dynamics. A summary of the model is presented and contrasted with models based the the Reynolds stresses as well as computational models.