Experimental study of convection in the compressible regime

Publication by LGL-TPE in Phys. Rev. Fluids on March 25, 2019.

Abstract: An experiment of thermal convection with significant compressible effects is presented. The high-gravity environment of a centrifuge and the choice of xenon gas enable us to observe an average adiabatic temperature gradient up to 3.5Kcm-1 over a 4 cm high cavity. At the highest rotation rate investigated, 9990 rpm, the superadiabatic temperature difference applied to the gas layer is less than the adiabatic temperature difference. The convective regime is characterized by a large Rayleigh number, about 1012, and dominant Coriolis forces (Ekman number of order 10-6). The analysis of temperature and pressure fluctuations in our experiments shows that the dynamics of the flow is in a quasigeostrophic regime. Still, a classical power law (exponent 0.3±0.04) is observed between the Nusselt number (dimensionless heat flux) and the superadiabatic Rayleigh number (dimensionless superadiabatic temperature difference). However, a potential hysteresis is seen between this classical high flux regime and a lower heat flux regime. It is unclear whether this is due to compressible or Coriolis effects. In the transient regime of convection from an isothermal state, we observe a local decrease of temperature which can only be explained by adiabatic decompression.

Source: . Rémi Menaut, Yoann Corre, Ludovic Huguet, Thomas Le Reun, Thierry Alboussière, Michael Bergman, Renaud Deguen, Stéphane Labrosse, Marc Moulin. Phys. Rev. Fluids 4, 033502, March 25, 2019.

LGL-TPE Researcher
Thierry Alboussière

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