Density stratified environments: the double-tank method

Density stratified environments: the double-tank method We present an alternative method of producing density stratifications in the laboratory based on the ‘double-tank’ method proposed by Oster (Sci Am 213:70–76, 1965). We refer to Oster’s method as the ‘forced-drain’ approach, as the volume flow rates between connecting tanks are controlled by mechanical pumps. We first determine the range of density profiles that may be established with the forced-drain approach other than the linear stratification predicted by Oster. The dimensionless density stratification is expressed analytically as a function of three ratios: the volume flow rate ratio n, the ratio of the initial liquid volumes λ and the ratio of the initial densities ψ. We then propose a method which does not require pumps to control the volume flow rates but instead allows the connecting tanks to drain freely under gravity. This is referred to as the ‘free-drain’ approach. We derive an expression for the density stratification produced and compare our predictions with saline stratifications established in the laboratory using the ‘free-drain’ extension of Oster’s method. To assist in the practical application of our results we plot the region of parameter space that yield concave/convex or linear density profiles for both forced-drain and free-drain approaches. The free-drain approach allows the experimentalist to produce a broad range of density profiles by varying the initial liquid depths, cross-sectional and drain opening areas of the tanks. One advantage over the original Oster approach is that density profiles with an inflexion point can now be established. Experiments in Fluids Springer Journals

Density stratified environments: the double-tank method

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Copyright © 2008 by Springer-Verlag
Engineering; Engineering Fluid Dynamics; Fluid- and Aerodynamics; Engineering Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer
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