• Joseph Mathew

      Articles written in Sadhana

    • The problem of clear air turbulence: Changing perspectives in the understanding of the phenomenon

      T N Venkatesh Joseph Mathew

      More Details Abstract Fulltext PDF

      Due to rapid improvements in on-board instrumentation and atmospheric observation systems, in most cases, aircraft are able to steer clear of regions of adverse weather. However, they still encounter unexpected bumpy flight conditions in regions away from storms and clouds. This is the phenomenon of clear air turbulence (CAT), which has been a challenge to our understanding as well as efforts at prediction. While most of such cases result in mild discomfort, a few cases can be violent leading to serious injuries to passengers and damage to the aircraft. The underlying physical mechanisms have been sought to be explained in terms of fluid dynamic instabilities and waves in the atmosphere. The main mechanisms which have been proposed are:

      Kelvin–Helmholtz instability of shear layers,

      waves generated from flow over mountains,

      inertia-gravity waves from clouds and other sources,

      spontaneous imbalance theory and

      horizontal vortex tubes.

      This has also undergone a change over the years. We present an overview of the mechanisms proposed and their implications for prediction.

    • On jet instability modes of a subsonic Hartmann whistle


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      Numerical experiments to understand the resonant acoustic response of a subsonic jet impinging on the mouth of a tube, known as the Hartmann whistle configuration, were performed as large-eddy simulations. The tube length was chosen so that its fundamental duct mode, for one end closed and one end open, would match the dominant mode in the exciting jet. When the tube mouth was placed in the path of a regular stream of vortex rings, formed by the instability of the jet’s bounding shear layer, a strong resonant, tonal response (whistling) was obtained. At three diameters from the jet, OASPL was 150–160 dB. A tube with a thicker lip generated a louder response. When the tube was held closer to the nozzle exit, the impinging unsteady shear layer could not provoke any significant resonance. The simulations reveal that the tonal response of a Hartmannwhistle operating in subsonic mode is significant.

    • Boundary layer transition experiments with embedded streamwise vortices


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      Experiments were conducted with a counter-rotating, streamwise vortex pair embedded in flat plate boundary layers, in a low-turbulence wind tunnel, to understand the role of local separation on transition. Steady, streamwise vortices were generated downstream of gaps in spanwise-uniform, smooth hills (of height h) affixed to the plate, 175 mm from its leading edge. The flow between is directed away from the plate. At the four tunnel speeds 1.8–3.5 m/s considered, the Reynolds numbers based on displacement thickness at this location variedfrom 248 to 346. Small, medium and large gaps of 2, 4 and 8 mm, respectively, were set up; they were about a third to twice the boundary layer thickness (2/3 <b/h <8/3). With the closest vortex pairs, transition wasobserved at all freestream speeds considered. With larger spacing, transition occurred at the highest speed only. The vortex pair caused the flow to separate in all but the largest-gap cases. Separation was steady and reattachmentunsteady in all cases. Velocity fluctuations grew slightly upstream of re-attachment in transitional cases. No evidence was found for separation or re-attachment as a direct cause for transition; transition occurred even without separation. Instead, whenever transition was observed, its origin could be traced to instability of astreak of sufficient amplitude that had been created by the vortex pair. Streak instability appeared as fluctuations growing along its sides and spreading. Anomalous behaviour was also observed with moderate spacing, wheretransition did not occur in spite of flow separation and streak amplitudes in excess of known thresholds for streak instability.

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