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Published April 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Lagrangian analysis of fluid transport in empirical vortex ring flows


In this paper we apply dynamical systems analyses and computational tools to fluid transport in empirically measured vortex ring flows. Measurements of quasisteadily propagating vortex rings generated by a mechanical piston-cylinder apparatus reveal lobe dynamics during entrainment and detrainment that are consistent with previous theoretical and numerical studies. In addition, the vortex ring wake of a free-swimming Aurelia aurita jellyfish is measured and analyzed in the framework of dynamical systems to elucidate similar lobe dynamics in a naturally occurring biological flow. For the mechanically generated rings, a comparison of the net entrainment rate based on the present methods with a previous Eulerian analysis shows good correspondence. However, the current Lagrangian framework is more effective than previous analyses in capturing the transport geometry, especially when the flow becomes more unsteady, as in the case of the free-swimming jellyfish. Extensions of these results to more complex flow geometries is suggested.

Additional Information

© 2006 American Institute of Physics (Received 23 January 2006; accepted 3 March 2006; published online 17 April 2006) The authors are very grateful to Francois Lekien of Princeton University for the use of the software MANGEN. We would also like to thank Vered Rom-Kedar of the Weizmann Institute of Science for her insightful comments and valuable suggestions. This paper was partially supported by ONR-MURI Contract No. 00000916.

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