We present a novel characterization of mixing events associated with the propagation and overturning of internal waves studied, thanks to the simultaneous use of particle image velocimetry (PIV) and planar laser-induced fluorescence (PLIF) techniques. This combination of techniques had been developed earlier to provide an access to simultaneous velocity and density fields in two-layer stratified flows with interfacial gravity waves. Here, for the first time, we show how it is possible to implement it quantitatively in the case of a continuously stratified fluid where internal waves propagate in the bulk. We explain in details how the calibration of the PLIF data is performed by an iterative procedure, and we describe the precise spatial and temporal synchronizations of the PIV and PLIF measurements. We then validate the whole procedure by characterizing the triadic resonance instability (TRI) of an internal wave mode. Very interestingly, the combined technique is then applied to a precise measurement of the turbulent diffusivity K t associated with mixing events induced by an internal wave mode. Values up to K t = 15 mm2 s−1 are reached when TRI is present (well above the noise of our measurement, typically 1 mm2 s−1), unambiguously confirming that TRI is a potential pathway to turbulent mixing in stratified flows. This work therefore provides a step on the path to new measurements for internal waves.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2016
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