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Instabilities, Waves and Turbulence

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Natural and industrial flows, in geophysics, aeronautics or process engineering, are complex, unsteady, sometimes multiphase, and most often turbulent. Understanding and modeling these flows is a real challenge for both fundamental and practical reasons.

On a global scale, atmospheric and oceanic flows are subject to stratification and background rotation effects. These lead to the generation of internal waves, which have a profound influence on the flow dynamics, such as the emergence of eddies or coherent jets that can influence the mixing properties (heat, pollutants ...)

On a smaller scale, flows with interfaces (either between two liquids or between a liquid and a gas) provide other examples of such complex flows. The formation of ocean waves illustrates the wide range of open issues, from the origin of the first ripples generated by wind to their amplification to the mechanism of saturation and dissipation by wave breaking. Other examples are the coiling instability of "liquid ropes" that fall on a surface and the surprising morphology of the "liquid curtains" that form at the exit of a horizontal pipe.

In this research group, we develop model experiments in simple and controlled configurations that aim to reproduce these complex flows from the first stages of instability to fully turbulent situations.

Permanent members:

P. Carles, P.-P. Cortet, F. Moisy, M. Rabaud, N. Ribe

Non Permanent members:

M. Aulnette (PhD), M. Brunet (PhD), C. Nové-Josserand (PostDoc)

Former Members:

A. Campagne (PhD, 2015), M. Leang (PhD, 2018), N. Machicoane (PostDoc, 2016), A. Paquier (PhD, 2016), S. Perrard (PostDoc, 2018), A. Sibrant (PostDoc, 2017)


Strange rotation in an orbitally shaken glass of beer

F. Moisy, J. Bouvard

Collaboration: W. Herreman (LIMSI, Universite Paris-Sud)

Swirling a glass of wine induces a rotating gravity wave along with a mean flow rotating in the direction of the applied swirl. Surprisingly, when the liquid is covered by a floating cohesive material, for instance a thin layer of foam in a glass of beer, the mean rotation at the surface can reverse. This intriguing counter-rotation can also be observed with coffee cream, tea scum, cohesive powder, provided that the wave amplitude is small and the surface covering fraction is large..

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See the movie on Youtube !

F. Moisy, J. Bouvard, W. Herreman, EPL 122, 34002 (2018)

Turbulent windprint on a liquid surface

C. Nové-Josserand, S. Perrard, A. Paquier, F. Moisy, M. Rabaud

Collaborations : M. Benzaquen (Ecole Polytechnique), A. Lozano-Duran (Stanford University)

As soon as a light breeze blows on the surface of the water, well before the threshold of formation of the first capillary waves, we notice that the surface is not perfectly smooth like a mirror. Very small deformations (in the order of a few microns) appear, called wrinkles. We have shown that these wrinkles are the imprint of pressure fluctuations travelling in the turbulent boundary layer generated by the wind, which stripe the surface of small unsteady wakes. We study these wrinkles using wind tunnel experiments based on a highly sensitive optical method (Synthetic Schlieren) and numerical simulations.

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S. Perrard, A. Lozano-Duran, M. Rabaud, M. Benzaquen, F. Moisy, J. Fluid Mech. 873, 1020-1054 (2019).

Torricelli's curtain: Morphology of laminar jets under gravity

M. Rabaud, N. Ribe

While the form of a fluid jet issuing horizontally from an orifice was first studied by Torricelli (1643), this classic problem in fluid mechanics still holds surprises. When a laminar jet issues from the end of a pipe, it divides into primary and secondary jets with a thin vertical curtain of fluid connecting them. We are currently using laboratory experiments and numerical simulations to study this unexpected behavior.

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Wake of inertial waves in a rotating fluid

N. Machicoane, V. Labarre, F. Moisy, P.-P. Cortet

Collaboration: B. Voisin (LEGI, Grenoble).

A remarkable property of rapidly rotating flows is their tendency to become two-dimensional: a slowly moving object moves along with a fluid column, called a Taylor column, aligned with the axis of rotation. But when the velocity increases, the object can emit a wake of inertial waves, similar to a boat emitting a wake of surface waves. We made precise measurements of this particular wake on the rotating platform Gyroflow, and obtained an excellent agreement with a model based on a slender body approximation.

N. Machicoane, V. Labarre, B. Voisin, F. Moisy, P.-P. Cortet, Phys. Rev. Fluids 3, 034801 (2018) [PDF]

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Inertial wave turbulence in rotating fluids

M. Brunet, P.-P. Cortet

Collaboration : B. Gallet (CEA Saclay), M. Gibert (Institut Néel).

Together with the effects of fluid stratification, the two-dimensional structuration of turbulent flows and the possibility for inertial waves propagation induced by the Coriolis force are key ingredients of geophysical flows (ocean, atmosphere, Earth liquid core). In this context, theoretical predictions have been made for a specific regime of rotating turbulence, the regime of "inertial wave turbulence". However, it is still not clear under which condition this wave turbulence regime will hold. In the framework of the "Simons Collaboration on Wave Turbulence" (2019-2023) and of the ANR project DisET (2018-2022), we are exploring experimentally the possibility to reach and study the regime of inertial wave turbulence in a fluid under rotation.

Linear and nonlinear regimes of an inertial wave attractor

M. Brunet, P.-P. Cortet

Collaboration: T. Dauxois (Laboratoire de Physique de l'ENS de Lyon)

Fluids subjected to a global rotation are the support of a specific class of waves, called inertial waves, found in geophysical and astrophysical flows (ocean, atmosphere, liquid core of planets ...). As a result of the anomalous reflection laws of these waves, which keep their inclination constant with respect to the horizontal, these systems can lead in closed domains to singular modes, called wave attractors, focusing the energy on a limit cycle. We report an experimental study of the non-linear regime of an inertial wave attractor revealing the emergence of a triadic resonance instability with singular features. The scaling laws of the attractor wavelength and amplitude are shown to be quantitatively described by introducing a turbulent viscosity in the linear attractor model, a result that could help in extrapolating attractor theory to geophysically and astrophysically relevant situations.

M. Brunet, T. Dauxois, P.-P. Cortet, Phys. Rev. Fluids 4 034801 (2019) [PDF]

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Lift Crisis

M. Rabaud

Collaboration: P. Bot, G. Thomas, A. Lombardi, C. Lebret (Naval Academy Research Institute, IRENAV Brest)

After the pioneering work of G. Eiffel (1912) the « Drag crisis » is now a well known phenomena of fluid mechanics for a bluff body moving at large velocity. During this crisis the drag force becomes, surprisingly, a decreasing function of the relative velocity. We have shown that at the drag crisis, non-up/down symmetrical bodies can also experience a strong "lift crisis", i.e. a sharp transition or even an inversion in their lift force.

Bot P., Rabaud M., Thomas G., Lombardi A. and and Lebret C., Phys. Rev. Lett 117, 234501 (2016) [PDF]

Making folds by blowing on a liquid

M. Aulnette, F. Moisy, M. Rabaud

When the wind blows on the surface of a liquid, it is well known that, above a critical wind velocity, a propagative wave is formed. But what happens when the fluid is very viscous (100 to 1000 times more viscous than water), to the point that these propagative waves become critically damped? Experimentally, we observe that the waves are violently destabilized in the form of sharp "liquid folds", like a fabric forming folds in front of an iron. These liquid folds then advance at high speed, pushed by the wind, and can interact with each other (coalescence, sheltering...)

Aulnette M., Rabaud M.,Moisy F., subm. Phys. Rev. Fluids (2019) [Arxiv]

Liquid rope coiling

N. Ribe
Collaborations: M. Habibi and D. Bonn

If you like honey on your toast at breakfast, you are ready to perform a simple and beautiful fluid mechanics experiment. Plunge a spoon into the honey jar, and then hold it vertically several inches above the toast. The falling honey builds a whirling corkscrew-shaped structure - a phenomenon called "liquid rope coiling".

(Photo H. Hosseini)

N. Ribe, J. Fluid Mech. 812, R2 (2017).