Design and Construction of an Affordable Rotating Table for Classroom Demonstrations of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Principles

Design and Construction of an Affordable Rotating Table for Classroom Demonstrations of... Rotating tables have been in use for many years because of their ability to demonstrate fluid dynamical phenomena, shedding insight on the sometimes complicated or esoteric mathematics used to describe such processes. A small team of students at the Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science constructed a rotating table, or spin tank, assembly that is simple and affordable, yet instructive.The apparatus is designed to be easy to maintain and operate. The number of moving parts is kept at a minimum, and the electrical components chosen are of high quality. With the aid of a brief instruction manual or tutorial, students and faculty can operate the rotating table and easily perform many demonstrations, with the freedom to vary fluid depth, rotation rate, and acceleration. The entire design and construction process was conducted on a limited budget of 3,000.A spin tank such as this has practical applications for the qualitative study of fluid dynamics. Fundamental concepts in rotating flow dynamics can be demonstrated to supplement the more rigorous mathematical treatment typically given in oceanography or atmospheric physics graduate-level courses. Topics that have been explored thus far are Ekman pumping, Taylor columns, and barotropic instability, but could be broadened to include subjects such as Rossby waves, baroclinic instability, vortex merger, and thermal convection. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

Design and Construction of an Affordable Rotating Table for Classroom Demonstrations of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Principles

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Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
D.O.I.
10.1175/BAMS-84-12-1827
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Rotating tables have been in use for many years because of their ability to demonstrate fluid dynamical phenomena, shedding insight on the sometimes complicated or esoteric mathematics used to describe such processes. A small team of students at the Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science constructed a rotating table, or spin tank, assembly that is simple and affordable, yet instructive.The apparatus is designed to be easy to maintain and operate. The number of moving parts is kept at a minimum, and the electrical components chosen are of high quality. With the aid of a brief instruction manual or tutorial, students and faculty can operate the rotating table and easily perform many demonstrations, with the freedom to vary fluid depth, rotation rate, and acceleration. The entire design and construction process was conducted on a limited budget of 3,000.A spin tank such as this has practical applications for the qualitative study of fluid dynamics. Fundamental concepts in rotating flow dynamics can be demonstrated to supplement the more rigorous mathematical treatment typically given in oceanography or atmospheric physics graduate-level courses. Topics that have been explored thus far are Ekman pumping, Taylor columns, and barotropic instability, but could be broadened to include subjects such as Rossby waves, baroclinic instability, vortex merger, and thermal convection.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Dec 11, 2003

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