In this article, we study experimentally the evolution of a vertical columnar vortex in a stratified fluid. Three different measurement techniques are used. Particle image velocimetry allows us to monitor the time evolution of the characteristics of the vortex (Froude and Reynolds numbers). Dye visualizations reveal the existence of an instability for Froude numbers smaller than one, which creates an undulation of the vortex centerline. Synthetic schlieren visualization shows that the density structure of the unstable mode is very similar to the structure found recently numerically for the radiative instability of a Lamb–Oseen vortex (Riedinger et al. in J Fluid Mech, 2010). The experimental stability diagram and unstable wavelengths are compared with these numerical results. A secondary instability associated with the presence of critical layers is also observed for Froude numbers larger than one.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 17, 2010
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