A Caltech Library Service

Studies on gravitational spreading currents

Chen, Jing-Chang (1980) Studies on gravitational spreading currents. California Institute of Technology . (Unpublished)

See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The objective of this investigation is to examine the buoyancy-driven gravitational spreading currents, especially as applied to ocean disposal of wastewater and the accidental release of hazardous fluids, such as liquefied natural gas. A series of asymptotic solutions are used to describe the displacement of a gravitationally driven spreading front during an inertial phase of motion and the subsequent viscous phase. Solutions are derived by a force scale analysis and a self-similar technique for flows in stagnant, homogeneous, or linearly density-stratified environments. The self-similar solutions for inertial-buoyancy currents are found using an analogy to the well-known shallow-water wave propagation equations and also to those applicable to a blast wave in gasdynamics. For the viscous-buoyancy currents the analogy is to the viscous long wave approximation to a nonlinear diffusive wave, or thermal wave propagation. Other similarity solutions describing the initial stage of motion of the flow formed by the collapse of a finite volume fluid are developed by analogy to the expansion of a gas cloud into a vacuum. For the case of a continuous discharge there is initially a starting jet flow followed by the buoyancy-driven spreading flow. The jet mixing zone in such flows is described using Prandtl's mixing length theory. Dimensional analysis is used to derive the relevant scaling factors describing these flows.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Group:W. M. Keck Laboratory of Hydraulics and Water Resources
Record Number:CaltechKHR:KH-R-40
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format.
ID Code:25964
Deposited By: Imported from CaltechKHR
Deposited On:30 Apr 2004
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 13:50

Repository Staff Only: item control page