Wednesday, February 22, 2017

When a vortex ring impacts a solid wall (or a mirrored vortex...

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When a vortex ring impacts a solid wall (or a mirrored vortex ring), it expands and quickly breaks up. The animations above show something a little different: what happens when a vortex ring hits a water-air interface. As seen in the side view (top image), the vortex starts to expand, but its shear at the interface generates a stream of smaller vortices that disrupt the larger vortex. (They even look like a little string of Kelvin-Helmholtz vortices!) When viewed from above (bottom image), the vortex ring impact and breakdown look even more complicated. Mushroom-like structures get spat out the sides as those secondary vortices form, and the entire structure quickly breaks up into utter turbulence. There’s some remarkable visual similarities between this situation and some we’ve seen before, like a sphere meeting a wall and drop hitting a pool. (Image credit: A. Benusiglio et al., source)

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