We present an experimental study of inertial gravity currents (GCs) propagating in a cylindrical wedge under different drainage directions (inward/outward), lock-release (full/partial gate width) and geometry (annulus/full cylinder). We investigate the following combinations representative of operational conditions for dam-break flows: (i) inward drainage, annular reservoir, full gate; (ii) outward drainage, full reservoir, full gate; and (iii) outward drainage, full reservoir, partial gate. A single-layer shallow-water (SW) model is used for modelling the first two cases, while a box model interprets the third case; the results of these approximations are referred to as “theoretical”. We performed a first series of experiments with water as ambient fluid and brine as intruding fluid, measuring the time evolution of the volume in the reservoir and the velocity profiles in several sections; in a second series, air was the ambient and water was the intruding fluid. Careful measurements, accompanied by comparisons with the theoretical predictions, were performed for the behaviour of the interface, radial velocity and, most important, the volume decay V(t) / V(0). In general, there is good agreement: the theoretical volume decay is more rapid than the measured one, but the discrepancies are a few percent and the agreement improves as the Reynolds number increases. Velocity measurements show a trend correctly reproduced by the SW model, although often a delay is observed and an over- or under-estimation of the peak values. Some experiments were conducted to verify the role of inconsistencies between experimental set-up and model assumptions, considering, for example, the presence or absence of a top lid, wedge angle much less than 2 π, suppression of the viscous corner at the centre, reduction of disturbances in the dynamics of the ambient fluid: all these effects resulted in negligible impacts on the overall error. These experiments provide corroboration to the simple models used for capturing radial drainage flows, and also elucidate some effects (like oscillations of the radial flux) that are beyond the resolution of the models. This holds also for partial width lock-release, where axial symmetry is lost.
Experimental verification of theoretical approaches for radial gravity currents draining from an edge / Petrolo, D.; Ungarish, M.; Chiapponi, L.; Ciriello, V.; Longo, S.. - In: ACTA MECHANICA. - ISSN 0001-5970. - 232:11(2021), pp. 4461-4483. [10.1007/s00707-021-03066-6]
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