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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 May 6;106(18):184503. Epub 2011 May 4.

Vortex formation in a shock-accelerated gas induced by particle seeding.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of New Mexico, New Mexico 87131, USA.


An instability forms in gas of constant density (air) with an initial nonuniform seeding of small particles or droplets as a planar shock wave passes through the two-phase medium. The seeding nonuniformity is produced by vertical injection of a slow-moving jet of air premixed with glycol droplets or smoke particles into the test section of a shock tube, with the plane of the shock parallel to the axis of the jet. After the shock passage, two counterrotating vortices form in the plane normal to that axis. The physical mechanism of the instability we observe is peculiar to multiphase flow, where the shock acceleration causes the second (embedded) phase to move with respect to the embedding medium. With sufficient seeding concentration, this leads to entrainment of the embedding phase that acquires a relative velocity dependent on the initial seeding, resulting in vortex formation in the flow.

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